HEALTH officials have been urged to speed up a consultation to allow spare inhalers to be kept in schools - a move which could prevent children dying needlessly from asthma attacks.

Charity Asthma UK said the 1.1 million children with the condition across the UK are at risk because at present schools are not allowed to keep an extra device in the event of an emergency.

The inhalers most commonly used to treat asthma attacks are prescription-only medicines, which means that schools are not allowed to keep a spare inhaler for emergencies when children do not have their own inhaler, the charity said.

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But a change in the medicines regulations, which are a reserved matter, could mean that schools are permitted to keep an asthma inhaler in their first aid kit.

Last October the Department of Health confirmed that a public consultation into the change in regulations would be launched.

But timings for the consultation were not outlined and Asthma UK is now calling on the Government to launch the consultation as soon as possible.

Shona Haslam, National Director of Asthma UK Scotland said: "Tragically, attacks can be fatal. It simply cannot be overstated just how critical it is for children to be able to get to emergency medicines quickly, especially if they have lost or broken their own inhaler.

"It is vital that the law is changed this summer so children with asthma do not have to go through another school year without access to a spare emergency inhaler. Unless we make our voice heard on this issue, we are worried it could still be many years before we see spare emergency inhalers being available to children at school, if at all."