A NEW programme has been launched to help support Hampshire children with asthma.

School nurses in Winchester and Eastleigh will become ‘asthma champions’ after undergoing special training from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Staff learned about the impact of asthma on children, how to deal with emergency treatment and were also advised to develop asthma policies.

Jane Levers, school nursing lead for Southern Health, says: “Around 5.4 million people in the UK have asthma and 1.1 million of those are children. It is the most common long term condition of childhood and around two children in each class have asthma.

“Ninety per cent of all deaths from asthma are preventable; therefore, it is important that we work with schools to ensure that they are equipped to act quickly in emergency situations.”

She added: “Providing this new initiative proves successful, we hope to be able to roll out asthma training to schools across Hampshire.”

The training was supported by Asthma UK and aims to increase confidence in school staff, children and parents and help children and young people who suffer from asthma to access their education more easily and participate fully in school activities.

It is the latest in a series of efforts to improve asthma care in Hampshire and particularly Southampton.

As previously reported, the asthma, allergy and immunology service at Southampton General is a world centre of excellence for its research. And hospital experts have teamed up with the University of Southampton’s department of allergy to lead an international training programme after the World Allergy Organisation backed their work.

The city’s researchers have already overseen groundbreaking international projects in recent years, including the development of new diagnostic technology which revealed that attacks of asthma were triggered mostly by the common cold, as well as discovering the first novel asthma gene.

Staff are also leading cuttingedge investigations into better ways of treating severe forms of asthma and preventing the development of asthma.