Today the National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) is calling for an end to complacency around asthma care so more can be done to save lives.
This first confidential enquiry report from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), Why Asthma Still Kills, published today, found nearly half (45%) of patients included in this study who died from asthma did not have any medical help during the final asthma attack.
For 33% of people there was no record of them seeking medical assistance and for 11% help was not given in time. The NRAD found 80% of the children under 10 and 72% of young people aged 10 – 19 died before they reached hospital.
Professor Chris Griffiths, member of the NRAD Steering Group, Queen Mary University of London, comments: “This report shows how care has deteriorated since the last national analysis of asthma deaths in 2005. These worrying statistics can and must be turned around in the next decade. Those of us who work in general practice must implement the recommendation to have a named clinician responsible for asthma in each practice. Despite facing huge challenges as we work to meet current NHS organisational change, we need to prioritise asthma care in order to reduce deaths in the UK.”
The NRAD was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) and managed by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in collaboration with professional organisations – including Queen Mary University of London – and patient groups. The NRAD looked at the circumstances surrounding death from asthma in order to identify patterns and trends in the care received by patients.
Improvements are needed so both patients and healthcare professionals are better at recognising the signs of deterioration in asthma, and are better at acting quickly when faced with a potentially fatal asthma attack.
A full list of the findings and recommendations are available on the RCP website.
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