Asthma patients in UK dying needlessly due to poor medical care: report
06 May 2014
Asthma sufferers in the UK are dying needlessly due to poor medical care, a new report showed.
After an in-depth review, the Royal College of Physicians found that as many as two thirds of asthma-linked deaths it investigated could have been avoided.
The UK has five million people who suffer the condition. The number of deaths reported in 2012 from the condition stood at 1,242.
Experts from the Royal College of Physicians investigated a sample of 195 deaths from the condition - and found there was "room for improvement" in 83 per cent of cases.
Over half of those who died underwent treatment for mild asthma, and just less than half did not receive sufficient amount of preventative medication.
Of those who died, the majority were not under specialist care, according to The Times and half did not have medical help when they had the asthma attack which killed them.
A common problem was found to be failure to prescribe a preventative inhaler.
Of the 28 child patients whose deaths were investigated, 26 were found to have received inadequate care.
According to professor Mike Morgan, NHS England's national clinical director for respiratory services, who spoke to ITV, every patient needed to 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.
According to GP, Dr Mark Levy, RCP's clinical lead for the report, doctors, patients and their families failed to recognise life-threatening danger signs of the condition.
The review found that many of the patients who died had had made excessive use of their inhalers for months prior to their deaths, suggesting they had not been managing their disease well.
According to the report doctors should have spotted they were repeatedly prescribing these inhalers and taken action.