Every teacher and childcare worker should be trained in how to handle severe allergic reactions, AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today.
'The AMA is calling on all State and Territory Governments to introduce compulsory first aid training for people who work with children,' Dr Haikerwal said.
'This training should cover appropriate first aid for anaphylactic shock, including how to use auto-injecting devices to inject adrenalin and treat a severe allergic reaction.
'Teachers and carers need to know how to act when confronted with medical emergencies, particularly for children who suffer from conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and severe allergies.'
Governments also should introduce clear concise national recommendations outlining the best care for children with these conditions, Dr Haikerwal said.
'Each at-risk child should have an emergency plan, developed with their doctor and school or child-care centre, including guidelines for use of medication," he said.
'Governments need to devise a way to authorise school and childcare staff to administer vital medication in case of a life-or-death emergency.
'And they must provide legal protection for staff members who need to take emergency action - a 'Good Samaritan' clause, if you will, protecting teachers who act in good faith.'
Dr Haikerwal said growing public awareness of these severe conditions is a good start, but to provide really effective protection for at-risk children, everyone needs to be better prepared.
'The people who are responsible for these children need to feel confident that should an emergency arise they will be able to manage it,' he said.