Everybody who has asthma needs a basic level of care and support to manage their condition. This includes an annual review with a doctor or nurse, inhaler technique checks, and the development and review of a personalised asthma action plan. This care, which is similar for people with other lung conditions, is essential to keeping millions of people well and out of hospital, particularly during winter.
But access to basic healthcare changed dramatically in March 2020. The NHS had to suspend or make changes to many of its services, to help protect patients from COVID-19 and prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. Whilst some people were able to access asthma care remotely or face-to-face from their GP throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this has not been consistent across the country.
Our report Recovery and reset for respiratory provides an overview of the key challenges facing all patients with lung conditions as a result of COVID-19, and provides a series of recommendations to restore and improve basic care. We believe there are significant opportunities for the NHS to put measures in place to address the backlog of care and ensure that in the coming months and years, people’s basic health needs are met.
Download a PDF copy of Recovery and reset for respiratory here.
- GP practices should offer a choice of video, phone, face-to-face and digital options for carrying out annual reviews with patients, considering patient preferences
- GP practices should identify patients at greatest risk through risk stratification and invite them to attend a review
- NHS England and the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should each develop a communication plan for patients, encouraging everyone to know who they should contact if they have new or worsening respiratory symptoms
- Patients who have been diagnosed without use of appropriate lung function tests must have their diagnosis confirmed with tests as soon as possible
- Commissioners should maintain new ways of delivering care and treatment which benefit patients.