Asthma deaths soar

DEATHS from asthma attacks in England and Wales have increased by a third in the last decade, according to data from The Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Analysis of ONS data by the organisation Asthma UK has found that more than 1,400 people died from an asthma attack in 2018, an 8 per cent increase compared to 2017. Asthma deaths amongst people aged 35-44 increased by 42 per cent in the last year.

Asthma UK says a lack of basic asthma care may have contributed to the rise, as 60 per cent of people with asthma in England and Wales (an estimated 2.9 million) are "not receiving basic care as recommended by national guidelines". The National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) has found that two-thirds of asthma deaths could have been prevented by better basic care – and out of 19 recommendations made by NRAD, only one has been partially implemented.

Around 4.8 million people in England and Wales have asthma.

Kay Boycott, Chief Executive of Asthma UK, said: "The NHS must act now to ensure that everyone with asthma in England and Wales gets basic asthma care which includes a yearly review with their GP or asthma nurse, a check to ensure they are using their inhaler properly and a written asthma action plan. The NHS needs to ensure that all healthcare professionals are providing this care to patients."

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, commented: "It's deeply concerning to hear that the death toll for asthma, a manageable long-term condition, in England and Wales is the highest it's been for a decade – and it is right that addressing this should be a priority for the Government and the NHS."