Majority of asthma patients 'not getting adequate care'

Credit: PA

Eight out of 10 asthma patients are not getting the basic clinical care they need, a survey from experts has revealed.

Asthma UK's care survey revealed 80% of asthma sufferers put up with inadequate care of what is a potentially deadly condition.

Asthma is caused when small tubes which carry air in and out of the lungs become inflamed.

L.D. Chopra, 76, an asthmatic patient, breathes through an oxygen mask. Credit: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

The common condition causes wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and breathlessness and costs the NHS more than £1billion in medicines, GP visits and hospital admissions every year.

Symptoms gets worse and culminate in an asthma attack, which often requires hospitalisation and can kill.

Three people died every day from asthma and 1255 people lost their life to the condition last year, figures from the Office of National Statistics showed.

However, care varies up and down the country, Asthma UK found, with Londoners most likely to be neglected.

  • Only 14% of people in London receiving care that meets national standards. Comparatively 35% of people living in Northern Ireland received the right standard of care.

  • This means that you are more than twice as likely to receive better asthma care in Northern Ireland than you are if you live in London.

  • In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children and 4.3 million adults.

Earlier this year the Secretary of State for Health announced that every person with asthma would have an action plan by 2015.

The survey showed without urgent action at national and local level this target will not be met, as only 30% of people with asthma have a written action plan.

People who use a written action plan are four times less likely to have to go to hospital for their asthma.