Press release: Asthma deaths in Scotland highest this century

Asthma UK is calling for the Scottish Government to finalise the much-awaited respiratory improvement plan, after it was today revealed that the number of asthma related deaths in Scotland are the highest this century.

The data, produced annually by the National Records of Scotland, shows that between January to December 2016 133 asthma deaths were recorded, compared to 122 in 2015.

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.

In Scotland, 368,000 people (1 in 14) are currently receiving treatment for asthma, of which 72,000 are children.

Only 47.8% of people with asthma in Scotland have a written asthma action plan, despite being four times more likely to end up in hospital without one.

Kay Boycott, Chief Executive at Asthma UK, said: “It is hugely distressing that the number of deaths in Scotland has risen to the highest level this century.

“Three years ago 19 recommendations were made as a result of the National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) report which would help to reduce avoidable risk and deaths. Only one recommendation has been implemented. This is unacceptable. The Scottish Government has been talking about an improvement plan for two years and we are still waiting.

“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.”

Primary care consultations cost Scotland £12.6m million each year, but improved asthma health would lead to a reduction in routine GP appointments needed, saving the NHS both time and money.

ENDS

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 National Records of Scotland report:

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/general-publications/vital-events-reference-tables/2016

Asthma deaths in Scotland since 2001:          

Year Age 0-14 Age 15+ Total
2001 1 100 101
2002 4 127 131
2003 3 95 98
2004 1 93 94
2005 2 98 100
2006 2 80 82
2007 2 110 112
2008 4 99 103
2009 1 92 93
2010 1 90 91
2011 3 91 94
2012 3 86 89
2013 3 102 105
2014 2 70 72
2015 3 119 122
2016 1 132 133 


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