Asthma deaths in England and Wales are the highest this century

Asthma UK says the increase in deaths from asthma in England and Wales this year is unacceptable, and hundreds of lives could have been saved by better basic care

In the last year, 1,320 people in England and Wales have died from an asthma attack, according to figures released today [Wednesday 18 July 2018] by the Office for National Statistics. This is an increase in asthma deaths of more than 25% in the last decade.(1)

The figures show:

  • 1,320 people died from asthma in England and Wales in 2017.
  • In the last decade, there has been a 25% increase, with 1,033 deaths in 2007
  • In 2016, 1,237 died from asthma in England and Wales
  • Asthma deaths in England and Wales for 2017 are the highest they have been this century(2)
  • There has been an increase of 43% in asthma deaths in those aged 55-64 since 2016(3)

Responding to the news, Kay Boycott, Chief Executive of Asthma UK, said:

“It is shocking to see that asthma deaths in England and Wales are the highest they have been this century, with a worrying trend upwards since 2009. This is devastating for the families who have lost a loved one and highlights the urgent need to improve basic care for people with asthma. 

“The 2014 National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) showed that two-thirds of deaths from asthma could be prevented with better basic care.(4) This includes a yearly review with a GP or asthma nurse and a written asthma action plan. It is deeply concerning that four years after this critical report, two-thirds of people with asthma in England and Wales are still not receiving basic care.(5

“We know that asthma is not taken seriously enough, as 1 in 6 people in the UK do not know or are unsure if the condition can be fatal.6 This complacency could be costing people’s lives.

“We are urging the NHS to ensure that people with asthma receive basic care to prevent avoidable deaths. Healthcare professionals need to make sure they are providing good asthma care. People with asthma also need to proactively manage their condition and attend their appointments to prevent life-threatening asthma attacks. For more information visit www.asthma.org.uk/manage.”

-Ends-

For further information, please contact:

Hannah Jowett, Media Officer, Asthma UK

0207 786 4951 out of hours 07951 721393

hjowett@asthma.org.uk

 

Notes to editors 

1. In 2007, 1,033 people died from asthma in England and Wales. This compares to 1,320 people in 2017, which is an increase of 27.7%.

2. Asthma deaths in England and Wales are the highest they have been since 2001

3. Asthma deaths in the age group 55-64 increased from 72 deaths in 2016 to 103 deaths in 2017

4. Royal College of Physicians, Why Asthma Still Kills: The National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD), May 2014, https://www.asthma.org.uk/globalassets/campaigns/nrad-full-report.pdf

5. Falling Through the Gaps: Why more people need basic asthma care included a survey of 7,611 people with asthma across the UK.  Of these people, 65% said that they did not receive basic care

6. Charity Awareness Monitor, January 2017, 1,000 adults in Britain aged 16+. Which, if of any, of the following statements do you think is true about asthma? Asthma attacks can be fatal. 16% said no or not sure.

Asthma deaths in England and Wales since 2001

Year Total
2001 1268
2002 1264
2003 1284
2004 1243
2005 1186
2006 1082
2007 1033
2008 1071
2009 1018
2010 1022
2011 1041
2012 1126
2013 1113
2014 1114
2015 1302
2016 1237
2017 1320