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Found 38 results
  1. News Article
    Urgent government action is needed to stop preventable asthma deaths, a leading charity has said. More than 12,000 people in the UK have died from asthma attacks since 2014, according to Asthma and Lung UK. It said the figures meant "shockingly little" had changed since a major report a decade ago which found two thirds of asthma deaths could have been avoided with better care. People with asthma should get an annual condition review, a written action plan and inhaler technique checks. But the charity said people with asthma were being "failed", with seven out of 10 not receiving basic care, partly because healthcare workers were over-stretched. Asthma and Lung UK said 31% of asthmatics were "disengaged" with managing their condition, putting them at higher risk, according to its research. Ministers in England and Wales said they were trying to improve services. Read full story Source: BBC News, 24 April 2024
  2. News Article
    Harry Miller was a popular teenager, appreciated for his sharp humour, ability to get on with anyone and eagerness “for the next adventure”. In the autumn of 2017, he was struggling with difficult thoughts and feelings of anger. Harry, who was 14 and lived in south-west London, confided his inner turmoil to friends and family. “I’m just having these anger rages,” he told his mother one day. “It’s like I just go crazy suddenly and I can’t control it. I don’t know what’s going on.” Two years previously, Harry had been prescribed the drug montelukast for his asthma. Unbeknown to his parents, a range of psychiatric reactions had been reported in association with montelukast treatment, including aggression, depression and suicidal thoughts. Harry’s parents, Graham and Alison Miller were not properly warned of the potential side effects. Their son was referred to the NHS child and adolescent mental health services in January 2018, but he missed an appointment because it was sent to the wrong person. On 11 February 2018, Harry was found dead in the family home, with an inquest later recording a verdict of suicide. He was described in a tribute by friends at St Cecilia’s Church of England school in Southfields, south-west London, as a “super star burning brightly”. Two years after his death, his father read an online warning about the adverse reactions involving montelukast by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It said these could very rarely include suicidal behaviour. Graham Miller said: “It is an absolute outrage that parents are being given psychoactive substances to give to their children without proper warning of the risk.” This weekend, the MHRA has confirmed that the drug is under review. A montelukast UK action group is calling for more prominent warnings of the drug’s possible side effects. Read full story Source: BBC News, 3 March 2024
  3. Content Article
    Salbutamol is a selective beta2-agonist providing short-acting (4-6 hour) bronchodilation with a fast onset (within 5 minutes) in reversible airways obstruction. The nebuliser liquids are licensed for use in the management of chronic bronchospasm unresponsive to conventional therapy, and in the treatment of acute severe asthma. A Medicines Supply Notification (MSN) issued on 14 February 2024, detailed a shortage of salbutamol 2.5mg/2.5ml and 5mg/2.5ml nebuliser liquid. The resolution date is to be confirmed. The supply issues have been caused by a combination of manufacturing issues resulting in increased demand on other suppliers. Terbutaline, salbutamol with ipratropium, and ipratropium nebuliser liquids remain available, however, they cannot support an increase in demand. Ventolin® (salbutamol) 5mg/ml nebuliser liquid (20ml) is out of stock until mid-April 2024 and cannot support an increased demand after this date.
  4. Community Post
    It's rare that I post personal information of any kind on a website such as this, but this really irked me so felt it was worth sharing. Context: I've been an Asthma sufferer since the age of 3 years old. I know exactly how to manage my condition having had it for over 50 years, and have always used a blue ventolin inhaler as and when necessary (perhaps once every 2-3 months). I have not had any serious issues with my Asthma for at least 20 years, and then only in Hayfever season. Issue: I only renew my inhaler when it expires, every 2 years or so. Therefore it is not listed on my repeat medications list. My most recent one had just run out, so I needed a replacement. Action: I emailed the GP's website as I knew I was meant to, and received an automated email back saying that I would receive a response within 5 working days. So far so good. Response: I received another email response 2 days later (pretty good!) saying that the GP would have to call me to run through why I needed a new inhaler. GP call: The GP rang on the set day and within the allocated time window and started asking me how often I used the inhaler, for what, and did I really need that or the preventative one (which I've had before). At the end of our 10 minute call, she agreed that I just needed a replacement blue ventolin inhaler, as I had asked for in the first place. What a waste of the GP's time, and mine!! It made me think that it would be a helpful thing if certain patients with decades of experience in managing their condition(s) in a very stable way could be classed as 'expert patients' on their GP record. This could save a huge amount of wasted time on both sides!! This blog post first appeared on Linkedin on 30 October 2022. I will post some of the responses to it below for added insight.
  5. Content Article
    This study in the British Journal of General Practice aimed to assess the risk of poor respiratory outcomes for people with resolved asthma compared to those with active asthma and people without asthma. The authors used three retrospective cohorts of around 16,000 patients each, in the following groups: Active asthma cohort (patients with an asthma-specific diagnostic code at any point in their GP record, and >1 asthma medication prescription). Resolved asthma cohort (patients with >1 resolved asthma code, followed from date of first resolved asthma during the study period to the earliest data of an asthma prescription, the end of the study period, date of transfer out of practice or death). Non-asthma cohort (population-based patients without active or resolved asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The results showed that compared to the active asthma cohort, the resolved asthma cohort had fewer GP consultations for asthma exacerbations and fewer asthma hospital admissions. However, compared with non-asthma patients, resolved asthma patients had more GP consultations, greater rates of respiratory tract infections and higher rates of antibiotic use. The authors highlighted a lack of guidance around care pathways for patients with a record of resolved asthma. They concluded that patients with resolved asthma may need a more comprehensive respiratory assessment if they present with symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection, in order to assess symptom burden, airway obstruction and the potential value of inhaled treatment.
  6. News Article
    A 10-year-old boy with severe asthma died as a result of multiple failings by healthcare professionals amounting to neglect, a coroner has concluded. William Gray, from Southend, died on 29 May 2021 from a cardiac arrest caused by respiratory arrest, resulting from acute and severe asthma that was “chronically very under controlled”. His death has led to calls to improve asthma treatment for children nationwide. The court heard that William’s death was a “tragedy foretold” having previously suffered a nearly fatal asthma attack on 27 October, 2020, which he survived. The coroner said that William’s death was avoidable, his symptoms were treatable, and he should not have needed to use 16 reliever inhalers over 17 months, but instead his condition should have been treated with preventer medications and should have been controlled. Julie Struthers, a solicitor at Leigh Day who represented the family, said, “In an inquest involving concerns with medical treatment it is rare for a coroner to find neglect, and even rarer for a coroner to find Article 2, a person’s right to life, to be engaged. This reflects the real tragedy of what happened to William, the substantial number of failures by multiple healthcare professionals in his care, and the importance of improving asthma treatment for children nationwide.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: inews, 22 November 2023
  7. News Article
    Women with asthma are twice as likely to die from an asthma attack compared with men in the UK, new figures show as health experts called for urgent research into the condition’s sex-related differences. They are more likely to have the condition, more likely to need hospital treatment for it and more likely to die from an attack, Asthma + Lung UK said. Over the past five years women have accounted for more than two-thirds of asthma deaths in the UK. The charity said the current “one size fits all” approach to asthma treatment is “not working” because it does not take into account the impact that female sex hormones during puberty, periods, pregnancy and menopause can have on asthma symptoms and attacks. More must be done to tackle the “stark health inequality”, it added. Between 2014-15 and 2019-20 more than 5,100 women in the UK died from an asthma attack compared with fewer than 2,300 men. Meanwhile, emergency hospital admissions in England show that, among those aged 20 to 49, women were 2.5 times more likely to be admitted to hospital for asthma treatment compared with men. Asthma + Lung UK said many people were unaware that fluctuations in female sex hormones can cause asthma symptoms to flare up or even trigger life-threatening attacks. It is calling for more research to examine the sex-related differences in asthma. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 27 April 2022
  8. News Article
    The UK has the highest death rate for lung conditions in western Europe, research reveals, prompting calls from health leaders for urgent action to tackle the “national scandal”. More than 100,000 people in the UK die from conditions including asthma attacks, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia every year, according to data analysis by the charity Asthma and Lung UK. Across Europe, only Turkey has a higher respiratory death rate than the UK, analysis of data up to 2018 shows. It described the UK figures as “shameful”, and said that lung conditions had for too long been treated like the “poor relation compared with other major illnesses like cancer and heart disease”. Even before the pandemic, significant numbers of lung patients were not receiving “basic care” from their GP services such as medicine checks and help using their inhalers, the charity said. Over the past two years, the health of thousands more has deteriorated while they waited for respiratory care, and diagnosis rates have fallen. Katy Brown, 64, a retired nursery nurse from Bristol, who was diagnosed with COPD in February 2021, said she was shocked by the lack of medical support she has received, and the poor general awareness of her condition. “I spent two years struggling to breathe and with constant chest infections, before I finally got a diagnosis of COPD,” she said. “Even now, over a year after my diagnosis, I’m still waiting for a test that will show how bad my condition is, and further treatment. “There is a lack of awareness about how serious lung conditions are and how terrifying it is to struggle to breathe. It’s like having an elephant sitting on your chest. If I’d been diagnosed with another serious condition like a heart problem, I believe my treatment and the way I was dealt with would have been completely different.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 28 February 2022
  9. Content Article
    This report from the National Asthma and COPD Audit Programme (NACAP) offers a view of the care of people with asthma and COPD in England and Wales, and is informed by 103,194 case records submitted to the audit programme. It is the first report to combine data on asthma, COPD and pulmonary rehabilitation across primary and secondary care services to underpin key messages, optimising respiratory care across the pathway.
  10. Content Article
    In this episode of the NICE talks podcast, Consultant Respiratory Physician Dr Hitasha Rupani, Medicines Consultant Clinical Adviser at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Jonathan Underhill and asthma patient Sheba Joseph discuss NICE’s recently published patient decision aid on asthma inhalers and climate change. The tool supports people with asthma to consider whether they might be able to use inhalers which have a smaller carbon footprint as part of their treatment plan. View the NICE patient decision aid on asthma inhalers and climate change
  11. Content Article
    Core20PLUS5 is NHS England's approach to reducing health inequalities at both national and system level. The approach defines a target population cohort and identifies five focus clinical areas that require accelerated improvement. This infographic outlines the specific Core20PLUS5 approach to reducing health inequalities for children and young people.
  12. News Article
    More than a million people in the UK have experienced life-threatening asthma attacks after cutting back on medicine, heating or food amid the soaring cost of living crisis, a survey suggests. One in five (20%) people living with asthma in the UK – of which there are 5.4 million – have had an attack as a result of changes they have been forced to make due to rising energy, food and household bills, according to the research by Asthma + Lung UK. Fuel poverty campaigners described the figures as “distressing”. Almost half of the 3,600 people with lung conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis surveyed by the charity said their health had worsened since the crisis began. Asthma + Lung UK warned there could be a “tidal wave” of hospital admissions in the next few months as cold weather, an abundance of viruses and people cutting back on medicines, heating, food and electricity put them at increased risk. Sarah Woolnough, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Untenable cost of living hikes are forcing people with lung conditions to make impossible choices about their health. “Warm homes, regular medicine and a healthy diet are all important pillars to good lung condition management – but they all come at a cost. We are hearing from people already reporting a sharp decline in their lung health, including many having life-threatening asthma attacks. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 28 September 2022
  13. Content Article
    This report from the National Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Audit Programme (NACAP) shows what happened after people were admitted to hospital with an asthma attack or COPD exacerbation between 2018 and 2020. The data show that many people are being readmitted to hospital within three months of going home and that some, particularly with COPD, are dying within three months of their exacerbation.
  14. Content Article
    Patient engagement is a key component of quality improvement in health. Patient activation is defined as the patient's willingness to manage their health based on understanding their role in the care process and having the knowledge and skills to do so. For children parents have this role. The Parent Patient Activation Measure (Parent-PAM) is adapted from Patient Activation Measure(PAM), a 13-point questionnaire designed to measure healthcare activation. PAM scores are stratified into "levels of activation": Level 1-does not believe the caregiver role is important (score ≤47.0) through to Level 4-takes action, may have difficulty maintaining behaviours (score ≥71). This study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, aimed to evaluate caregiver activation using Parent-PAM in a paediatric difficult asthma(DA)clinic.
  15. News Article
    Emergency attendances for several conditions are still well below their normal levels, despite a steady increase in overall activity since the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. Weekly data from Public Health England suggests overall A&E attendances increased to around 105,000 in the last week of May, which was an increase from 98,813 over the previous seven days. Data from the 77 A&E departments included in the research suggests that overall attendances are up to an average of 15,000 day, compared to around 10,000 at the peak of the pandemic and the long-term trend of just under 20,000. However, attendances for bronchitis, acute respiratory infections, respiratory, pneumonia, asthma, gastroenteritis are still far below their normal levels. It did not offer an explanation for why attendances for these conditions have remained low, while those for cardiac, influenza, myocardial Ischaemia, and gastrointestinal problems have returned to normal levels or above. Read full story Source: HSJ, 5 June 2020
  16. News Article
    Four in ten people are not seeking help from their GP because they are afraid to be a burden on the NHS during the pandemic, polling by NHS England reveals. The findings – from a survey of 1,000 people – are the latest in a wave of evidence that fewer people are seeking care for illnesses other than those related to coronavirus during the pandemic. GP online reported on 20 April that data collected by the RCGP showed a 25% reduction in routine clinical activity in general practice, and figures from Public Health England (PHE) and the British Heart Foundation show that A&E attendances overall and patients going to hospital for heart attacks are down 50%. Warnings that patients' reluctance to come forward could put them at risk come as leading charities warned that suspension of some routine GP services during the pandemic could also lead to a 'future crisis' if control of conditions such as asthma and COPD deteriorate. Professor Carrie MacEwen, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said: 'We are very concerned that patients may not be accessing the NHS for care because they either don’t want to be a burden or because they are fearful about catching the virus. 'Everyone should know that the NHS is still open for business and it is vitally important that if people have serious conditions or concerns they seek help. This campaign is an important step in ensuring that people are encouraged to get the care they need when they need it.' Read full story Source: GP online, 25 April 2020
  17. Content Article
    Women often have worse asthma than men, and female sex hormones can affect the condition. Asthma and Lung UK are conducting a survey to find out more about women's experience of asthma - women with asthma and those that care for them are invited to take the survey, which takes about five minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. Asthma and Lung UK have also published a report, Asthma is Worse for Women, outlining the need for more research into asthma and female sex hormones.
  18. Content Article
    Globally, there are 136 million women with asthma. Asthma is more common among women, women experience more severe symptoms and they are more likely to die from their asthma. Many women experience a significant worsening of symptoms around menstruation and are at risk of potentially fatal asthma attacks every month. However, there has been very little research to understand why. Asthma and Lung UK has published this report following a roundtable meeting with scientists, funders and pharmaceutical companies to discuss how to transform outcomes for women with asthma. The report covers information on sex bias in asthma and looks at recent developments in understanding about the condition, highlighting areas for further research. The report also makes the case for increasing funding to deliver better outcomes for women with asthma, strengthening leadership and infrastructure in asthma treatment, and increasing innovation in drug trials. Alongside the report, Asthma and Lung UK has made a short video where one woman talks about her experience of severe asthma, how it has affected her life and why we need more research into the link between asthma, periods and female hormones. Asthma and Lung UK has also released a survey to find out more about women's experience of living with asthma.
  19. Content Article
    The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) held a webinar on 12 May to discuss asthma management in children, to support the launch of their recent publication: Management of chronic asthma in children aged 16 years and under. For those of you who missed the event, HSIB have made available the webinar recording, presentation slides and Q&As.
  20. Content Article
    This self-assessment tool has been developed by the British Lung Foundation for people with Long Covid symptoms. It aims to help patients identify and prioritise their needs, signposts them to further information and outlines the help they should get in dealing with Long Covid. It is anonymous and takes 5-10 minutes to complete. Patients can also print out their answers and share them with healthcare professionals an employers to clearly highlight an individual's needs.
  21. Content Article
    This report from Asthma + Lung UK highlights that lung diseases such as COPD, asthma and pneumonia are the third leading cause of death in England, whilst the UK as a whole has the worst death rate from lung disease in Europe. Hospital admissions for lung diseases have doubled in the last 20 years and lack of proper testing for lung diseases is having an impact on patient safety, as GPs have to "guess" diagnoses. The report highlights three areas where policy changes should be implemented in order to improve care for people affected, reduce pressure on services and deliver massive savings for the NHS: Diagnosing lung disease early and accurately  Keeping people healthy and out of hospital Providing treatments that work
  22. News Article
    A promise to ensure that people with severe asthma and smokers who want to quit can get the drugs they need has been broken by ministers and the NHS, a health service report reveals. Health charities criticised the persistent lack of access to vital medications for patients in England as very worrying and warned that it could damage the health of those affected. In 2019 the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and makers of branded medicines signed an agreement, called the voluntary scheme, to increase the number of patients able to obtain cost-effective medicines on the NHS. It covered five key areas of disease in which receipt of drugs would result in “high health gain”. These were cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, stopping smoking by using the drug varenicline, hepatitis C and atrial fibrillation and thromboembolism. However, a report which NHS England commissioned – but has not published – shows that while the target has been met for cystic fibrosis and hepatitis C, it has been missed for severe asthma and smokers seeking to quit using varenicline. It compares England’s progress against that in 10 other European countries, including France, Spain and Italy. “It’s deeply concerning that England languishes near the bottom of the league table for uptake of biologic treatments for severe asthma, the deadliest form of the condition,” said Alison Cook, the director of external affairs at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 20 December 2021
  23. News Article
    Children with poorly controlled asthma are up to six times more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid than those without the condition, research has suggested. Scientists involved in the study said 5 to 17-year-olds in this category should be considered a priority for Covid vaccination. About 9,000 children in Scotland would benefit from the jab, researchers said. Vaccines are offered to the over-12s in Scotland, but not to younger children. In the study, poorly controlled asthma was defined as a prior hospital admission for the condition, or being prescribed at least two courses of oral steroids in the last two years. Prof Aziz Sheikh, director of the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute and Eave II study lead, said: "Our national analysis has found that children with poorly controlled asthma are at much higher risk of Covid-19 hospitalisation. "Children with poorly controlled asthma should therefore be considered a priority for COVID-19 vaccination alongside other high-risk children." Prof Sheikh said it was important to consider both the "risks and benefits" from vaccinations. He added: "Emerging evidence from children aged five and older suggests that COVID-19 vaccines are overall well-tolerated by the vast majority of children." Read full story Source: BBC News, 1 December 2021
  24. News Article
    Children with asthma are at risk of avoidable deaths in England because of poor NHS systems and a failure to appreciate the dangers posed by the condition. A new investigation by NHS safety watchdog the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has revealed a series of risks to children with asthma, as concerns emerge of the impact of the pandemic on asthma patients more generally. The latest inquiry was sparked by the deaths of three children between 2014 and 2017. All were caused by asthma attacks which were later the subject of warnings by coroners. In each case HSIB said there were missed opportunities to recognise asthma as a life-threatening condition as well as problems with how the children were managed by doctors working in different parts of the NHS. Read full story Source: The Independent, 5 May 2021
  25. News Article
    A cheap drug, commonly used to treat asthma, can help people at home recover more quickly from COVID-19, a UK trial has found. Two puffs of budesonide twice a day could benefit many over-50s with early symptoms around the world, said the University of Oxford research team. There are also early signs the drug could reduce hospital admissions. The NHS says it can now be prescribed by GPs to treat Covid on a case-by-case basis from today. At present, there are few options for treating people with Covid who are not in hospital, apart from paracetamol. This widely-available asthma drug works in the lungs, where coronavirus can do serious damage, and could improve the recovery of at-risk patients who are unwell with Covid at home. Prof Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said he was "delighted" by the trial results so far and he said GPs could prescribe it after "a shared decision conversation" with patients. Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 April 2021
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