Needless deaths of asthma sufferers

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A study completed by doctors has indicated that about 800 asthma patients die unnecessarily each year. This is due to complacency among both patients and medical staff.

This is the first national UK asthma deaths study. The report stated that 67 people in Wales died from the condition during 2012 to 2013, and 3571 were hospitalised.

The Welsh government has launched an illness plan for respiratory failure.

Asthma is a condition that affects the manner in which air is carried in and out of the lungs.

According to Asthma UK, 59000 children and 256000 adults receive asthma treatment in Wales.

The National Review of Asthma Deaths examined around 195 deaths due to asthma in the UK, including that of 28 children. It stated that these patients are dying unnecessarily due to poor care. It said that medics and sufferers of the condition should increase their skills at recognising the danger signs.

The review revealed prescription errors in around 47% of deaths and indicated that there is definite room for improvement in the level of care received by at least 83% of those who had died.

The study indicated that in almost 50% of the cases they reviewed, the patient did not obtain medical help during their final attack.

Asthma UK has stated that the figures are horrifying and not taking any action would be an absolute scandal. They said that the news of the loss of a loved one is received too often, with around three people dying from asthma each day in the UK. Research done by Asthma UK has indicated that the one in 10 asthma sufferers in Wales usually do not receive adequate care.

RCP’s clinical lead for this report, Dr Mark Levy, stated that it is a sad situation that people are unaware that asthma is able to kill them.

The Welsh government has urged sufferers of respiratory illnesses to take responsibility for their lifestyle choices as a measure to cut down on illnesses that affect people’s lungs.

A spokesperson from the Welsh government has stated that they are aware that high quality care is required in the NHS for this condition. These needs have been laid out in their Respiratory Health Delivery Plan which was published last week. The aim of the plan is to reduce the number of unscheduled asthma admissions. The plan will include a separate children and young person’s section which is due for publication during the summer.

Image Credit: PNASH

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