Report finds that asthma sufferers are not receiving satisfactory care
A recent report by the Royal College of Physicians has found that both children and adults are dying needlessly from asthma attacks.
What did the report find?
The report, which looked into the records of 195 asthma-related deaths, found that 25% of patients hadn’t received adequate care, and in 83% of the cases there was room for improvement.
Asthma attacks have been known to kill around 1,200 people each year, and over half of the cases investigated in the report were patients who were being treated for mild or moderate asthma – where doctors hadn’t realised the extent of their condition.
Additionally, one in 10 of patients who died from the illness had been discharged from hospital less than a month prior, and 21% had attended A&E at some point in the previous year.
One of the report’s authors, Dr Mark Levy, said:
“We have known about the identifiable or preventable factors relating to asthma deaths
since 1966.The shocking and surprisingly sad thing about this report is that
we still find preventable factors in over 70% of cases,
some of which are pretty serious.”
What can be done?
The college believes that better monitoring of asthma sufferers is needed, and recommends that all GP’s and hospitals have a dedicated doctor who is responsible for asthma services.
Both hospitals and practices need to ensure that immediate action is taken if a patient’s asthma ceases to be under control, and all staff must be educated to both recognise the risks and know what to do during an attack.
Additionally, in 45% of cases where the sufferer died, they hadn’t sought help – indicating that these patients hadn’t been told how to recognise the danger signs. The report suggests that all asthmas sufferers should have a personal action plan to help them recognise when the disease is worsening and seek help.
Professor Chris Griffiths from Queen Mary University of London helped to steer this report and said:
Those of us who work in general practice must implement the
recommendation to have a named clinician responsible
for asthma in each practice.”Despite facing huge challenges as we work to meet current NHS organisational change,
we need to prioritise asthma care in order to reduce deaths in the UK.”
If you feel that you haven’t received adequate care for your asthma, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email
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