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Young people’s experiences of managing asthma and diabetes at school
  1. J Newbould,
  2. S-A Francis,
  3. F Smith
  1. Department of Practice and Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of London, London, UK
  1. Dr Jennifer Newbould, Department of Practice and Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of London, 29–39 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX, UK; jennifer.newbould{at}


Purpose: To examine the experiences and concerns of young people and their parents regarding the management of medication for asthma or diabetes whilst at school.

Methods: Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with 69 young people aged 8–15 years (43 with asthma and 26 with diabetes) and their parents (138 interviews in total) in their own homes. Respondents were recruited through randomly selected general practice surgeries in contrasting areas in South East England. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using established qualitative analytical procedures.

Results: Young people with asthma and diabetes discussed difficulties regarding access to and use of their medicines at school which may jeopardise optimal condition management. School medicines policies could be a further hindrance. Young people endeavour to find ways to accommodate their medication and condition related needs whilst at school, in an attempt to limit the impact of their condition upon school activities such as sport, school trips and relationships with peers. Parents expressed concern regarding the awareness and levels of support available to their sons/daughters, in particular if a crisis should develop.

Discussion: In order to ensure optimal care, there is a need for the development of protocols tailored to the needs of young people with different conditions. These should preferably be devised in partnership between the young person, their parents and the school to ensure that the flexibility and support required for optimal management are offered.

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  • Funding: Jointly funded by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the School of Pharmacy, University of London.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • i UPA scores record the level of deprivation of an area based on eight factors including the number of unemployed and from an ethnic minority background; a higher UPA score indicates a greater level of deprivation. The UPA scores of the four areas in the study ranged from −19.91 to 17.42.21

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