Stourbridge MP Margot James Brings Inhalers Back to School
London, UK – March 5, 2015 – Conservative MP for Stourbridge Margot James has been shortlisted from over 100 candidates this year for the 3rd Annual Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises outstanding politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. Ms James has been nominated for spearheading a major campaign to improve emergency asthma care in schools across the country.
The campaign started in late 2012 when several constituents wrote to Ms James after generic asthma inhalers for emergency use were removed by local schools, owing to a breach in medical regulations. The Medicines Act 1968 prohibited inhalers being kept for generic use, providing an exemption for the armed forces, RNLI and mountain rescue teams only. Asthma is the most common condition amongst children with an average of 2 children in every school classroom suffering from it. A local survey following the removal of spare inhalers showed that only 27% of children carried their own spare inhaler with them at all times. Nationally, an average of 84 children are admitted to A&E for an asthma attack every day.
Recognising the need for change, Ms James organised a local meeting with Dudley Council, Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, Asthma UK, local schools, concerned parents, and a former asthma nurse to discuss this change and make recommendations. Following her campaign, the government launched a four week consultation taking views from stakeholders of all levels through Ms James’s extensive lobbying, subsequently resulting in the Medicines Act being amended to allow schools to keep a spare inhaler and spacer. The new policy came into effect on 1st October 2014.
Margot said, “I am honoured to have been nominated for this award, and that Grassroot Diplomat has recognised the importance of my campaign to improve asthma care in schools. As soon as I was made aware of the withdrawal of spare inhalers from schools in the Dudley Borough, it was vital to ensure that children with asthma would be safe should they suffer an attack at school. I am delighted that the law has now been changed to allow schools to keep a spare inhaler for emergency use, and have no doubt that this will safeguard children’s health.”
Rowena Jeremy from Wordsley near Stourbridge, whose eight-year-old son Owen died after suffering an asthma attack said, “An asthma attack can become life threatening very quickly, so ensuring that a school has a spare inhaler mean that all children can be treated promptly and will reduce the chance of the attack becoming more serious...this policy change will greatly increase the levels of confidence parents have in a school’s ability to deal with an asthma attack.”
Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Executive Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “All too often, we hear stories of our governments not representing our needs but Grassroot Diplomat looks upon selfless individuals who work tirelessly for their communities. The award seeks to create a culture of positive role models within our governments which encourages others in power to follow suit.”
Ms James’s extensive work on the campaign with local constituents has brought about real change in communities to ensure that preventable deaths can be avoided across the country.
Join Margot James and other government nominees for the gala dinner at The May Fair Hotel, London on Thursday 5th March 2015. For ticket information please visit: http://www.grassrootdiplomat.org/book-tickets or call 07511 816689.
Further details about the awards can be found on: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/annual-awards
About Grassroot Diplomat
Grassroot Diplomat is a non-profit diplomatic consultancy with the mission to facilitate trust and better communication between governments and civil society. As an independent agency, Grassroot Diplomat shows no allegiance to a solitary government but will act in the interest of the people, no matter where they are or what state their country is in. We do this by developing, strengthening, and facilitating relationships between governments and civil society stakeholders on a project-by-project basis.
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