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Over 1,000 Asthma Patients ‘Dying Needlessly’ Every Year

The most comprehensive study of UK asthma finds that many people are not receiving care that meets even the most basic standards.

Over 1,000 Asthma Patients ‘Dying Needlessly’ Every Year

Woman with asthma inhaler...BTEGEE Woman with asthma inhaler

The most comprehensive study of UK asthma finds that many people are not receiving care that meets even the most basic standards.A charity has called for an overhaul of the way asthma is treated after it was revealed the condition costs the UK at least £1.1bn a year. 

Researchers found that at least three people die each day from asthma attacks and experts say the majority of asthma deaths are preventable.

The report’s authors said there needs to be a greater focus on basic care to cut the rates of severe attacks.

The team, led by the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at The University of Edinburgh, found that there were around 6.4 million GP and nurse consultations for asthma each year and more than 270 hospital admissions each day because of asthma attacks.

Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, said: “Despite the fact we’re spending over a billion pounds a year on asthma, many people are still not receiving care that meets even the most basic clinical standards.

“It’s clear this has to change and a different approach is urgently needed. We strongly believe new technologies such as smart inhalers are the likely game changer that could reduce asthma attacks and ease the burden on the NHS.”

The team said the findings confirm that the UK has one of the highest burdens of asthma in the world with more than 18 million people treated for the condition at some stage in their lifetime.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “The NHS is a world leader in medical innovation – from hip replacements, new vaccines, IVF and life-saving new medicines.

“The next frontier includes technologies which help patients, particularly those with long-term conditions like asthma and COPD, better understand and manage their own health without the need for costly and inconvenient hospital treatment.”

Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Even with conservative assumptions, we find almost 100,000 people are admitted to hospital and there are at least 1,000 deaths from asthma each year in the UK.

“This is unacceptable for a condition that, for most people, can be managed effectively with the right support from their GP.

“Greater focus on primary care is needed if we are to cut rates of severe asthma attacks, hospitalisations and deaths.”

The research was drawn together from national health surveys and anonymised administrative, health and social care records in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (skynews)


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