NHS level of care for asthma sufferers is set out by NICE


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a quality standard for asthma, which sets out the level of care that people with asthma should expect from the NHS. The standard says people with asthma should:

  • have a written action plan
  • be trained and assessed on their inhaler technique before starting any new treatment
  • have a structured review at least once a year

Emily Humphreys, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Asthma UK, said: "We're delighted that a quality standard is now in place for asthma. This will really help to improve the quality of care provided for one of the most common long-term conditions - so it's no exaggeration to say that if this is successful, it could change millions of lives."

"We're particularly pleased to see the inclusion of personal asthma action plans. People who have an action plan are 4 times less likely to need to be admitted to hospital, but only a tiny proportion of people with asthma are currently offered one. Making sure this is implemented will be the next key test of asthma care in the NHS."

Approximately 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma. That equates to 1 in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults, and on average, 3 people per day or 1 person every 8 hours dies from asthma.

An estimated 75% of hospital admissions for asthma are avoidable and as many as 90% of the deaths from asthma are preventable.

In some cases severe brain damage is suffered as a result of the miss-management of an asthma attack in both a primary care and acute setting. There may be failure to prescribe the appropriate medication and to ensure that necessary equipment is available, or there may be a negligent delay in responding once it becomes apparent that the victims condition is deteriorating, leaving the victim in a "minimally aware" state, unable to walk, talk or care for themselves.

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