August 08, 2019
Asthma deaths have risen by around a third in 10 years, according to figures analysed by a national charity.
Asthma Deaths Have Risen By A Third In 10 Years – And A Lack of Basic Care Could Be To Blame
More than 1,400 people died from an asthma attack last year in England and Wales – around an 8% increase compared to 2017, Asthma UK said.
The data, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows the number of deaths have increased by 33% in a decade, up from 1,071 in 2008. The figures also show an increase in men dying from the condition – as 436 men died in 2018 compared to 370 the previous year.
The figures follow the death of 19-year-old waitress Holly Worboys, who used her inhaler sparingly to save money, then died in January 2016 from an asthma attack. Her story prompted Asthma UK to call for a removal of asthma prescription charges. [Read More: One Million Brits Could Be Using Asthma Inhalers Incorrectly – And Lives Are At Risk]
The charity said a “lack of basic asthma care” could be behind the rise in deaths. Around 60% of people with asthma in England and Wales – an estimated 2.9 million people – are not receiving basic care as recommended by national guidelines, the charity added.
A review commissioned by the NHS and Department for Health five years ago found that two-thirds of asthma deaths could have been prevented by better basic care. But Asthma UK said only one of its 19 recommendations have been “partially” implemented.
Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, said it’s “completely unacceptable” that thousands of people with asthma in England and Wales have died from asthma attacks. “It’s been five years since the National Review of Asthma Deaths... yet we are still seeing tragic cases of lives being cut short,” she said. 
“The same mistakes are being made again and again because essential recommendations have not been implemented. This lack of action is costing lives and devastating families and communities.” The same mistakes are being made again and again because essential recommendations have not been implemented.Around 4.8 million people in England and Wales are thought to suffer from asthma. More than 12,700 people have died from the condition in England and Wales in the last decade.
Commenting on the figures, Mike Morgan, national clinical director for respiratory, NHS England, said in a statement to HuffPost UK: “Asthma UK worked closely with the NHS to develop proposals in our Long Term Plan, which sets out measures including better diagnosis of the condition, improved medicine reviews and stronger guidance for local health services to better support families living with asthma.
“These [measures] will all contribute to more than three million people benefitting from improved respiratory, stroke and cardiac services over the next decade, but as we’ve seen this week, with confirmation that one third of childhood asthma cases are linked to air pollution, it’s clear that a big part of this challenge cannot be met by the NHS alone.”
For further information and support on managing your asthma, visit the charity’s dedicated toolkit or look on the NHS website. READ MORE: Death Of 19-Year-Old Who Couldn’t Afford Inhaler Sparks Campaign For Asthma Medication To Be Free Childhood Asthma Cases In Europe Could Be Caused By Air Pollution, Study Suggests Third Of Asthma Sufferers Cut Back On Food To Pay For Medication, Charity Warns
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