News ID: 257033
Published: 0151 GMT August 09, 2019

Asthma deaths in England and Wales 'highest in a decade'

Asthma deaths in England and Wales 'highest in a decade'

Deaths from asthma in England and Wales are the highest they have been in more than a decade, according to analysis of official data.

More than 1,400 adults and children died from asthma attacks in 2018 — that's 2.5 people out of every 100,000, BBC wrote.

The charity Asthma UK said too many lives were being cut short by a lack of basic care, such as inhaler checks.

GPs' leaders said more staff in practices were needed so doctors could spend longer with asthma patients.

But with research linking some childhood asthmas to air pollution, National Health Service (NHS) England said it couldn't solve the problem on its own.

Nearly five million people in England and Wales have asthma, a condition that affects the airways.

It can cause breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and a tight chest.

Overall, more than 12,700 people have died from asthma in England and Wales in the past 10 years.

One of those was eight-year-old Bailey, twin brother of Mason, from Cambridgeshire, who had mild asthma.

Their mum, Nicki Davis, 49, said Bailey's condition didn't stop him from doing the things he loved.

However, one day after school in 2017, everything changed.

"He came into my room and said, “Mummy, I can't breathe properly”.

"I helped him take a couple of puffs of his reliever inhaler but suddenly, like a flick of a light switch, he collapsed," Nicki said.

She screamed for help while trying to do CPR and called emergency services.

"The paramedics were working on him for over an hour but they couldn't revive him in hospital," Nicki said.

"Bailey died in front of me, at just eight years old.

"No-one should have to go through what we have.

"How many more lives have to be cut short before people realize how serious asthma can be?"

Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, said it was "completely unacceptable that thousands of people with asthma in England and Wales have died needlessly" from asthma attacks.

Five years ago, a national review found two-thirds of asthma deaths could have been prevented.

And, Boycott added, there were still "tragic cases of lives being cut short".

Since 2013, the rate of asthma deaths has increased 17 percent, from 2.15 to 2.5 per 100,000 people.

In 2018, 20 children aged under 14 died from asthma, up from 17 in 2017 and 13 the year before.

The data was analyzed by Asthma UK from Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

The NHS England national clinical director for respiratory services Mike Morgan said families living with asthma were being better supported thanks to proposals in the NHS long-term plan.

But with one-third of childhood asthma cases being linked to air pollution, he said, "it's clear that a big part of this challenge cannot be met by the NHS alone".

Asthma UK said the same mistakes were being made again and again because essential recommendations were not been implemented.

"This lack of action is costing lives and devastating families and communities," the charity said.

Advice from GPs for asthma patients:


● Always have access to your prescription medication.

● Don't let inhalers run out or expire without getting a replacement.

● Understand how to use inhalers, peak flow meters and spacer devices properly


How to ensure you are receiving basic care?


● Use a written asthma action plan — including how to tell whether your asthma is getting worse and what medicine to take

● Check your inhaler technique — even a small tweak could improve symptoms

● Book in for an annual review — so you can talk to your GP about any problems

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