Warning over 'needless' asthma deaths

Poor care is leading some asthma patients to die needlessly, a damning new report has found. Experts from the Royal College of Physicians found at least one "major potential avoidable factor" in 67% of the asthma deaths they investigated.

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Mismanagement of hay fever 'can lead to hospital visits'

Allergy UK says ineffective management of serious hay fever is a key factor in the increasing number of hospital admissions for asthma:

Asthma is rarely addressed in the management of hay fever, even though allergic rhinitis can impact hugely on this chronic life-long disease, resulting in asthma attacks and in the most extreme cases, hospitalisation and even death.

In an age of ever greater healthcare advances, it is simply unacceptable that hay fever is not more appropriately treated.

– Maureen Jenkins, Clinical Services Director, Allergy UK

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NHS Clinical Director: 'Patients should have a care plan'

Professor Mike Morgan, NHS England's national clinical director for respiratory services, said: "These statistics are a call to action.

"Every patient should have a care plan which should be regularly reviewed and patients should be supported to manage their asthma, including effective inhaler technique and knowledge of their condition.

A top professor has said that inhaler technique and knowledge of their condition should be managed. Credit: Clive Gee/PA

"In February last year, National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) produced a set of quality standards which make it clear that local commissioners should integrate services so that asthma sufferers receive a consistently high quality service from childhood to adulthood."

'Doctors, patients and families fail to spot Asthma signs'

Dr Levy from the Royal College of Physicians said that "doctors, patients and their families failed to recognise life-threatening danger signs of asthma".

Asthma patients are dying needlessly as a result of poor care, a damning new report has found. Some 1,242 people died from asthma in 2012.

The below video by BUPA shows what happens when a person gets asthma and how it can be prevented:

The review said: "It might be that in these cases people were complacent about their asthma and we feel that the majority of these people did not know what to do - they did not recognise the danger signs they did not know how or when to call for help."

He said that three quarters of those who died did not have a personalised asthma plan which would have provided them with this information.

Charity Asthma UK said that prescribing errors were detected in 47% of the deaths studied.

There are 5.4 million people in the UK who suffer from the condition.

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'Prescribing errors' behind avoidable asthma deaths

People with asthma prescribed the wrong kind of inhaler were behind a lot of preventable deaths, a leading health charity told Good Morning Britain.

Asthma UK's Kay Boycott said some sufferers were under-prescribed inhalers designed to prevent an attack, while too many reliever inhalers were given to patients.

"What we'll say is with an asthma attack, you'll need to start hours, days, weeks before, so if you have got hay fever, start taking your preventer before the hay fever season starts to prevent them."

NHS: Asthma stats a 'call to action'

Data showing two thirds of asthma deaths could have been prevented are a "are a call to action for commissioners, health professionals and patients," according to a health chief.

Professor Mike Morgan, NHS England's national clinical director for respiratory services, said:

Every patient should have a care plan which should be regularly reviewed and patients should be supported to manage their asthma, including effective inhaler technique and knowledge of their condition.

Treatment should adhere to clinical and prescribing guidelines.

In February last year, National Institute of Health and Care Excellence produced a set of quality standards which make it clear local commissioners should integrate services so that asthma sufferers receive a consistently high quality service from childhood to adulthood.

– Professor Mike Morgan

Reliever inhalers used 'excessively' before death

Many asthma patients who passed away from their condition were excessively using their reliever inhaler in the months leading up to their deaths, a study has found.

The Royal College of Physicians said the heavy use suggested they were not managing their condition well.

They also found:

  • Medics should have spotted that they were repeatedly prescribing these inhalers and taken action.
  • Meanwhile one in 10 of those who died had been admitted to hospital for an acute asthma attack within four weeks of their death.
  • The report found that 45% of those people who died following an asthma failed to call for help or obtain help during their attack and the vast majority of children died even before they reached hospital.

Poor care leading to 'needless' Asthma deaths

Asthma patients are dying needlessly because of poor care, a scathing report has found.

The RCP examined 195 asthma deaths, including 28 children. Credit: PA

The Royal College of Physicians said there were "major avoidable factors" in around two thirds of the asthma deaths they examined.

Experts pointed to poor information, education and advice given to patients on how to manage their condition as to reasons behind avoidable asthma deaths.

These factors are leading to a large number of deaths which could otherwise have been prevented, the report says.

In the UK, three people die from asthma every day and every 10 seconds someone suffers from a potentially life-threatening attack.

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