Thanks to the support of our passionate campaigners, we have made real progress with our campaigns and a great difference to the lives of people with asthma.
Recent campaign successes
Access to new asthma medicines
Many people with asthma are today benefiting from new drugs that we helped become available on the NHS. For people with severe asthma, there are very few effective treatment options - we're working to help tackle this unmet need and help improve their quality of life.
We have helped to ensure that mepolizumab, a new treatment for severe eosinophilic asthma, is made available on the NHS. We acted on behalf of people with asthma so that this was approved for use, and we will continue to work towards ensuring mepolizumab can be accessed by those with severe asthma that could benefit from it, wherever they are in the UK.
Previously, we also worked together to ensure that Xolair (Omalizumab) became available to people with severe allergic asthma - this has had a massive improvement in the quality of life of many people with the condition.
It took almost 4 years of campaigning, but together we kept up the pressure and changed the law to keep children with asthma safe at school. From October 2014 it became legal for schools across the UK to keep a spare emergency inhaler for use in the event of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. Previously it was illegal for schools to keep a spare inhaler even though exemptions existed for organisations like the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the armed forces. We are working to ensure the changes are now placed within local guidance to schools.
Improving support for children at school with asthma
Asthma UK teamed up with a number of other charities in the last Parliament and through the Children and Families Bill we successfully secured a new legal duty on schools to support pupils with long-term medical conditions. From September 2014, every school in England has been required by law to make appropriate arrangements for supporting pupils with long-term health conditions like asthma.
Passive smoking has a very harmful health impact on those with asthma. Building on the success of the smokefree laws for public places, we have helped to protect children from passive smoke in cars. Since October 2015, smoking in cars where children are present is illegal in England and Wales, with Scotland due to follow suit. We worked with a number of other organisations including Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
NHS Strategy to improve asthma care
Following years of campaigning for improvements and consistency in asthma care we were delighted in 2012 when the Government published the National Outcomes Strategy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma in England. We made sure people with asthma were involved in the development of this strategy and their views were taken into consideration. The strategy recommends that people with asthma should have a prompt and accurate diagnosis, shared decision-making regarding their treatment and ongoing support to manage their condition themselves.
Quality Standard for asthma
In February 2013, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published a Quality Standard for asthma. This is a set of 11 statements that sets out the standard of care people with asthma should expect from the NHS. The Quality Standard says people with asthma should have a written action plan; be shown how to use their inhaler and have a regular annual review.