CROYDON ‘WORST PLACE IN LONDON TO HAVE ASTHMA’

Neighbouring borough Bromley tops chart as best place in London to have the condition

 

Croydon appears to be the worst place in London to have asthma, new analysis from charity Asthma UK has revealed. People with asthma are more likely to be hospitalised or die from an asthma attack in Croydon compared to the neighbouring borough, Bromley, which appears to be the best place in London to have asthma.1

Asthma UK’s report On the edge: How inequality affects people with asthma uses Croydon as an example of how where you live could determine the likelihood of whether you are hospitalised or even die from asthma. Social inequalities mean that people in the poorest areas in England are more likely to be exposed to worse air pollution and higher smoking rates, have challenges accessing care, a lower awareness of asthma management, and have poor housing conditions.

Croydon is in the most deprived half of CCGs in England and has the highest hospital admission rate for asthma in the capital, with 720 people hospitalised for the condition last year. It also has the third highest number of asthma deaths in the capital. Yet people with asthma in neighbouring Bromley, one of the more affluent boroughs, are the least likely to need to go to hospital for their asthma in London, and the number of asthma deaths in the past nine years is half that of Croydon – 64 compared to 34 deaths.2

Compared to the rest of England, London has the worst rates of people receiving basic asthma care with 72% of people with asthma in the capital not receiving the care they need. Everyone with asthma is entitled to basic asthma care which includes having a written asthma action plan, having their inhaler technique checked and an annual asthma review with a GP or asthma nurse3.

Asthma UK is calling on NHS England, the Government and local councils to tackle inequalities for people with asthma by ensuring there is sufficient funding for people with asthma to get the care they need, tackle air pollution and improve housing.

London is just one example of the impact of social inequality on people’s asthma health. Asthma UK’s national analysis show Bradford City and North Manchester (part of Manchester CCG) have the two highest rates of emergency admissions and the highest score of deprivation in England. In contrast Rushcliffe, near Nottingham, is the area with the lowest rate of emergency admissions and is also the second least deprived area in England. This clearly shows the correlations between deprivation and emergency hospital admissions4.

Karen Briscoe, 56 from Croydon, says pollution, poor housing and a lack of access to basic asthma care have played a part in her being rushed to hospital with asthma attacks. She has also spent several hours in her GP surgery room waiting for an emergency appointment and struggling to breathe.

She says: “Where I live has definitely made my asthma worse. My kitchen has damp in it and I overlook a main road. The damp and the toxic air from the road trigger my asthma.

“I’ve been in and out of hospital with my asthma but I haven’t had the care I needed. My GP surgery is always so busy that I can wait up to three weeks for appointment and I’ve never had a yearly asthma review even though I know I should get one.

“It’s very frightening when I’m struggling to breathe and there are times where I think it might get so bad I might die. When you have asthma you should be able to get the care you need and be in an environment that won’t make you ill, no matter where you live.”

Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, said:

“It is truly shocking that people in deprived areas are not only struggling to make ends meet but if they have asthma they are more likely to end up in hospital or die from an asthma attack. We should all have an equal right to breathe. Everyone with asthma should be entitled to live in an area free of dirty air, in decent housing that doesn’t affect their health and get the basic asthma care from healthcare professionals that they are entitled to.

“Tackling health inequalities is meant to be a priority for healthcare commissioners, including NHS England, and our report highlights the fact that there is still a long way to go before all people with asthma are enabled to manage their condition effectively. Asthma UK is calling for the upcoming NHS Long Term Plan to invest in data-driven technologies to help people with asthma manage their symptoms and also improve access to treatment. Decision-makers across central and local government and the NHS should commit to tackling these inequalities to help stop life-threatening asthma attacks.

“Irrespective of where people live, the best way for people with asthma to stay well is to take their medicines regularly as prescribed, especially their preventer inhaler (commonly brown in colour). For more information about how health inequalities can affect asthma, visit www.asthma.org.uk/inequality.”

-Ends-

For further information, please contact:

Rebecca Lewis, media officer, Asthma UK

Landline: 0207 786 5004

OOO: 07951 721 393

rlewis@asthma.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

  1. Asthma UK’s report On the edge: How inequality affects people with asthma shows how asthma outcomes can vary based on factors like where you live and how much you earn. The report shows how deprivation has negative affect on asthma outcomes – that if you live in a deprived area, you are more likely to have asthma and go to hospital with an asthma attack.
  2. Asthma death data from 2007 – 2016 is from the Office of National Statistics.
  3. Basic care as outlined in BTS/SIGN and NICE guidelines for asthma. https://www.brit-thoracic.org.uk/standards-of-care/guidelines/btssign-british-guideline-on-the-management-of-asthma/, https://www.nice.org.uk/Guidance/NG80
  4. A detailed analysis is available in Asthma UK’s report On the edge: How inequality affects people with asthma.

We have a digital media centre with information for journalists including our press releases and statements, case studies, expert spokespeople, our celebrity supporters, infographics, videos and stats. Visit www.asthma.org.uk/media

London asthma inequality league table

CCG

Number of emergency admissions

Emergency admissions rate per 100 000 16/17

Rank

CROYDON

720

188.33

1

NEWHAM

613

179.78

2

BRENT

532

162.07

3

WALTHAM FOREST

433

156.97

4

EALING

524

152.68

5

HARROW

372

149.55

6

BARKING AND DAGENHAM

300

145.31

7

SOUTHWARK

451

143.99

8

ISLINGTON

314

134.84

9

HOUNSLOW

365

134.62

10

LAMBETH

434

132.35

11

REDBRIDGE

394

131.66

12

LEWISHAM

396

131.18

13

HILLINGDON

363

120.01

14

ENFIELD

390

117.68

15

MERTON

238

116.08

16

CITY AND HACKNEY

323

114.16

17

SUTTON

230

113.74

18

HARINGEY

315

113.13

19

WANDSWORTH

329

104.08

20

GREENWICH

284

101.51

21

TOWER HAMLETS

301

98.74

22

HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM

168

93.51

23

KINGSTON

161

91.42

24

CAMDEN

224

90.99

25

CENTRAL LONDON (WESTMINSTER)

157

88.03

26

HAVERING

221

87.43

27

BARNET CCG

318

82.37

28

RICHMOND CCG

157

80.17

29

WEST LONDON

181

80.09

30

BEXLEY

176

71.91

31

BROMLEY

235

71.89

32

 

Asthma Inequality: the national picture

London is just one example of the impact of social inequality on asthma outcomes. Asthma UK analysis shows a statistical correlation between deprivation and emergency hospital admissions for asthma.

The report also shows social class inequalities correlated with deaths; and regional inequalities in access to basic care for asthma.

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.
  • Every ten seconds someone in the UK has an asthma attack.
  • 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