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Difficult and severe asthma

Slipping through the net: The reality facing patients with difficult and severe asthma

Of the 5.4 million people in the UK living with asthma, around 1 million have ‘difficult’ asthma which includes an estimated 200,000 adults and children in the UK with ‘severe’ asthma, a condition that needs specialist assessment and bespoke support and treatments. Without specialist treatment and support, patients can be given and remain on the wrong treatment and even potentially the wrong diagnosis altogether. We believe people with these types of asthma could benefit from better assessment, diagnosis, management and/or treatment.

Our new report, Slipping through the net: The reality facing patients with difficult and severe asthma, explores how NHS severe asthma services work in practice as well as how harnessing data and new technologies could improve care.

We interviewed 17 severe asthma clinicians from around the UK to understand their experiences of severe asthma services and ran a survey among 72 primary and secondary health care professionals to understand the challenges they face.

Download our report

Top three recommendations

  1. Agree clear definitions of the different types of ‘severe’ and ‘difficult’ asthma to allow clinicians and people with asthma to understand the best management approach
  2. Accurately determine the size of the UK difficult and severe asthma populations to allow effective service planning
  3. Develop clear referral criteria between general practice, hospitals and specialist centres


Front cover of the report Slipping through the net

Download our report to read our full recommendations.

Download the PDF

Previous severe asthma report

Our previous work focused on making new treatments for severe asthma available more quickly and the need to better identify the different types of severe asthma.