One Million Asthma Patients 'Missing Crucial Check-Ups'

Asthma UK Says 'Essential' Annual Reviews Are Being Missed

31.07.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
Around a third of asthma sufferers in the UK are not receiving annual reviews of their condition, a new report has revealed.

According to Asthma UK’s review of GP data for 2012/13, just over one million of the three million asthma patients in the UK missed out on these check-ups, which are also used to ensure the correct medication has been prescribed.

The report also found a large variation in the numbers of people attending annual reviews of their medication, ranging from 52 per cent of patients in some areas and 79 per cent in other regions, highlighting the differing quality of care for asthma patients.

NHS guidelines suggest all asthma sufferers should receive an annual review, an asthma action plan and a trained medical professional should check their inhaler technique.

The report follows a national review in May that showed prescription mistakes were involved in 47 per cent of all asthma deaths, while room for improvement in the care received by 83 per cent of those who died was also identified.

Asthma UK has urged doctors and nurses to do all they can to ensure asthma sufferers review their treatment once a year. The organisation is also keen to understand where improvements can be made to asthma care in the UK.

Dr Mark Levy, National Review of Asthma Deaths clinical lead at the Royal College of Physicians said it is “imperative” that asthma sufferers have regular reviews of their condition and medication to reduce their risk of a potentially fatal asthma attack.

Expert Opinion
Asthma is still responsible for a significant number of deaths in the UK and much more needs to be done to reduce this. These figures indicate that some asthma patients are receiving unsatisfactory care and are not having their condition and medication regularly reviews.

“It is vital the NHS looks at why this is the case in order to learn lessons and discover what can be done to improve overall care for these patients.

“Patients must be provided with an annual review of their condition and prescription by specialist clinicians and also be made aware of the consequences of not following these guidelines. In areas where reviews are not being carried out regularly, the NHS must communicate the measures it is putting in place to improve standards to ensure patients are protected.”
Julie Lewis, Partner