Royal College of Physicians calls for better asthma care to avoid preventable deaths

Posted: 06/05/2014


Today is World Asthma Day and coincides with The Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP) report entitled Why Asthma Kills. The report makes a series of recommendations to overcome what the RCP describes as complacency surrounding asthma care by improving understanding and clinical care for sufferers of this disease.

The RCP report follows the National Review of Asthma Deaths, a study led by the RCP, which reviewed the facts surrounding the 1,200 deaths from asthma between February 2012 to January 2013. This figure has remained stubbornly high for many years even though it is widely acknowledged that there are preventable factors in 90% of deaths from asthma.

The RCP highlights the key messages for clinicians and patients/carers to end deficiencies in routine asthma care. Fundamentally, there needs to be better education for all healthcare professionals, with dedicated specialists and better mechanisms for monitoring asthma control. Training is also recommended for patients and carers to improve their understanding of the risks of the disease, to recognise the warning signs of poor control and to know how to handle an asthma attack. The RCP recommends that every asthma patient should have a personalised plan addressing these core concerns.

Welcoming today's report, Andrew Clayton, senior associate in Penningtons Manches' clinical negligence team, says: "Asthma is a condition that is widely – and wrongly – perceived to be relatively benign. Today's report suggests that this misconception may even be the case among healthcare professionals. Many asthma patients do very well at controlling their condition but this report is a wake-up call that asthma is a potentially life-threatening condition. As 90% of more than 1,000 asthma deaths were preventable, there is clearly a need for greater awareness and improved clinical care. The potential benefit speaks for itself."


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