Press release: Asthma UK calls for action to end preventable asthma deaths

Asthma UK's comment on annual update to data, revealed by the Office for National Statistics today (19 July 2017)

Date: 19 July 2017

The number of asthma related deaths in men is the highest it has been since 2004, according to data revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today. 

The data, produced annually, shows that between January to December 2016 394 asthma deaths were recorded in men, compared to 364 in 2015.

The report shows that across the population as a whole, the number of asthma related deaths has fallen by five percent in the last year from 1,302 to 1,237. However, the number is still higher than the 15-year average.

Asthma UK is concerned that this number is higher than the 15-year average and is calling for action to be taken to reduce the number of preventable asthma deaths.

Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and tragically two thirds of these deaths are preventable.

Two-thirds of people with asthma aren’t receiving basic care and only 42% of people with asthma have a written asthma action plan, despite being four times more likely to end up in hospital without one.

There were 19 recommendations made as a result of the National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) report which would help to reduce avoidable risk and deaths. Only one has been implemented.

Kay Boycott, Chief Executive at Asthma UK, said: “Every hospitalisation, every flare up of asthma, and every time a reliever inhaler is issued is an opportunity to prevent future harm but this is not going to happen unless we take a new approach to asthma care.

“It is unacceptable that three years after NRAD only one recommendation has been implemented. 

“We must take advantage of new asthma digital health solutions to transform the way asthma care is delivered and support self-management.  Digital asthma action plans, smart inhalers, and automated GP alerts are just some of the ways asthma care could be brought up to date and help reduce the risk of potentially fatal asthma attacks.”

Asthma currently accounts for 2-3% of primary care consultations at a cost of £160 million each year, but improved asthma health would lead to a reduction in routine GP appointments needed, saving the NHS both time and money.

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For more information please contact the Asthma UK media team on mediaoffice@asthma.org.uk, 020 7786 4949 (during office hours) or 07951 721393 (outside of office hours).

Link to Office for National Statistics (ONS) report: https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/deathregistrationsinenglandandwalessummarytables2016

Asthma deaths in England and Wales since 2001:

Year Age 0-14 Age 15+ Total
2001 27 1241 1268
2002 23 1241 1264
2003 22 1262 1284
2004 38 1205 1243
2005 24 1162 1186
2006 33 1049 1082
2007 19 1014 1033
2008 23 1048 1071
2009 12 1006 1018
2010 15 1007 1022
2011 15 1026 1041
2012 17 1109 1126
2013 27 1086 1113
2014 24 1090 1114
2015 18 1284 1302
2016 13 1224 1237

 

Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact the Asthma UK media team on mediaoffice@asthma.org.uk, 020 7786 4949 (during office hours) or 07951 721393 (outside of office hours).

About Asthma UK

  • In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).
  • Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and tragically two thirds of these deaths are preventable.
  • Asthma UK’s mission is to stop asthma attacks and cure asthma. We do this by funding world leading research, campaigning for improved care and supporting people to reduce their risk of a potentially life threatening asthma attack.
  • The Asthma UK Helpline is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm on 0300 222 5800.
  • For more information about asthma please visit www.asthma.org.uk