Basic asthma care still falling short

Two-thirds of people are still not receiving the basic care they need to manage their asthma. There is also wide variations in the level of care reported between different parts of the UK, according to a new report by Asthma UK.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of people miss a week or more of work or education a year because of their asthma, with almost two-thirds of those who pay for their prescriptions saying this has an impact on their ability to pay for other activities.

The Annual Asthma Survey 2016 found that seven out of ten people with asthma who end up in hospital are not given a follow-up appointment with a GP or nurse.

Of the 4,650 people who responded to the survey, 42 per cent were given an asthma action plan in 2016 – up from 36 per cent last year and 24 per cent in 2013. Not having an action plan makes a person four times more likely to end up in hospital with an asthma attack.

Northern Ireland was the highest performing part of the UK for the provision of basic asthma care, with nearly half (48 per cent) of NI respondents saying they had received adequate care. Only 28 per cent of people with asthma in London said they received basic asthma care, the lowest in the UK.


Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UK’s clinical lead, said: “Good asthma care means having a thorough asthma review, being on the right medication, knowing how to use your inhaler correctly and having a written asthma action plan. It is worrying that basic care is not being delivered on a consistent basis, because every person with asthma should be receiving this care.”

Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, added: “With the 2014 National Review of Asthma Deaths reporting two out of three asthma deaths are preventable with good basic care, it is hugely disappointing that the latest Asthma UK care survey shows little has changed since that damning report. It is clear that expecting old ways to tackle long-standing problems won't work.

“We must take a bold, new approach and take advantage of new asthma digital health solutions to transform the way asthma care is delivered and support self-management. Digital asthma action plans, smart inhalers, and automated GP alerts are just some of the ways asthma care could be brought up to date and help reduce the risk of potentially fatal asthma attacks.”

It is worrying that basic care is not being delivered on a consistent basis

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