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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

School support update on children with chronic illnesses in Gateshead

Hundreds children and young people in Gateshead are living with chronic medical conditions and allergies.

According to figures from Gateshead Council, 2,626 children and young people, aged up to 24, are living with chronic conditions, asthma, epilepsy and diabetes. A total of 2,275 children and young people have been diagnosed with asthma and 126 children and teens have diabetes.

Gateshead Council’s families overview and scrutiny committee was informed that pilot asthma reviews have been rolled out and have generated “good feedback” from parents and children in schools. More asthma ‘masterclasses’ are also being scheduled.

Gateshead School Catering (GSC) has also drawn up an allergens and special diets guide to help schools and parents. GSC guidance informs parents that once they have informed a school of a pupil’s allergy, intolerance or dietary requirement, the school must provide them with a ‘special diets’ form.

The form will require supporting correspondence from a doctor or dietician and a recent photo of the pupil. A meeting can then be arranged between GSC, the school, and parents or legal guardians to make alternatives and arrangements for the pupil’s school meals and food.

The council’s catering department has also drawn up a “carbohydrate count” for school meals for diabetic children. The service does caution that the final count may vary and depends on several aspects including cooking times and equipment.

Asthma is a common lung condition, affecting around 5.4 million people across the UK. Symptoms include breathlessness, wheezing and a tight chest. Diabetes is a chronic disease whereby the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or the body cannot effectively use the insulin the body makes.

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