We aim to ensure that the interests of people with asthma are represented to influence proposed changes to policies, guidelines and services. Here are some of our responses, sorted by the following four categories:
Implementation of Clean Air Zones in England
Air pollution is a major cause of asthma exacerbation and asthma attacks, which are in turn the principal cause of asthma deaths. In October 2016 the Department of Food and Rural Affairs produced a plan to introduce a clean air zones in five cities. We welcomed the proposals but argued that the government could go further.
Mayor of London’s air quality survey
We believe that air pollution, in particular traffic pollution, plays a role in triggering asthma attacks and causing asthma in both children and adults. With nearly 600,000 people with asthma living in London, we welcomed the Mayor’s commitment to make cleaning up London’s air a key priority.
BTS/SIGN Guidelines on Asthma Management 2016
The British Thoracic Society (BTS) and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) produce comprehensive guidelines on how to diagnose and manage asthma, and is widely used by healthcare professionals across the UK. The guidelines are regularly updated to reflect the latest evidence. In their latest consultation, we drew attention to confusing statements on wheeze and spirometry and welcomed their approach to innovative IT-Based ways to support adherence to asthma medication.
All Wales Prescribing Guidelines for Asthma
Wales has produced useful guidance for healthcare professionals to aid their prescription of drugs for people with asthma. We made recommendations to ensure that people with asthma are correctly checked to identify their risks and encouraged signposting to our written asthma action plan.
NICE Draft Diagnosis and Monitoring Guidelines
NICE are the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and they provide expert guidance for clinical practice, which is adopted by healthcare professionals. We welcomed their first ever draft guidelines on asthma and provided useful evidence on the use of new diagnostic tools. We also recommended that NICE and BTS/SIGN work closely to ensure their work complements each other.
Scottish Health Survey consultation
The Scottish Health Survey is a valuable data resource for Asthma UK and we responded to a consultation on the future content of the survey. The survey asks participants about their asthma every two years, and we strongly supported the retention of these questions and recommended further improvements. The survey data provides valuable intelligence on the scale and impact of asthma helping us to campaign for the best care for people with asthma in Scotland.
National Data Guardian opt-in consultation
We are ensuring the voice of people with asthma is represented in the ongoing policy developments on the use of personal health data, and have fed into consultations regarding the National Data Guardian. We are working to ensure that appropriate safeguards are developed for the use of personal health data, and that inappropriate health data sharing is avoided. We are also pushing to ensure full public engagement and clear communication of government plans in this area.
Accelerated Access Review
The UK Government is undertaking the Accelerated Access Review, which aims to speed up access to innovative drugs, devices and diagnostics for NHS patients. If we can reduce the time it takes to get new treatments from laboratory bench to patient’s bedside, we can help improve the lives of people with asthma more quickly. Our response to the Review highlighted the opportunity for people with asthma to ensure that innovations meet the patient’s requirements, and we noted that the current data governance framework can act as a barrier to progress.
Northern Ireland National Statistics consultation
Asthma UK keeps a close eye on developments in Northern Ireland, and we submitted a response to a consultation on changes to the schedule, presentation and availability of datasets. We want to see data available to provide accountability and to make sure we have a strong evidence base in our campaign for the best care for people with asthma in Northern Ireland.
NICE and NHSE consultation on proposals for changes to the arrangements for evaluating and funding drugs and other health technologies
These proposals include placing a threshold on the cost of new medicines approved by NICE, whereby access would be delayed if this threshold is exceeded. We have expressed our concern that these proposals could potentially restrict or delay future access to new asthma treatments.
NICE consultation on mepolizumab for treating severe refractory eosinophilic asthma
We advocate for people with asthma to gain access to the latest life-changing treatments. People with severe eosinophilic asthma currently have no treatment options but a new drug, mepolizumab, has shown significant clinical benefit. We responded to a recent NICE consultation to highlight this evidence.
Specialised Services Commission
There are around 250,000 people with severe asthma in the UK, each of whom requires require expert support and tailored treatments. In this review led by the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, we called for a sustainable model to deliver specialised services to ensure that people with severe asthma can benefit from new treatments regardless of where they live. We also advocate comprehensive, robust national data collection on specialised asthma services to assess use in each nation.
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