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Asthma care varies

The level of asthma care offered by practices varies 'vastly' with some far better than others at achieving good control of patients' symptoms, a new study reports.

The researchers said the study at last offered hope of tying down exactly what some practices were doing right and others doing wrong ­ with the potential to significantly improve standards.

Their study, reported online by the Primary Care Respiratory Journal, found the proportion of patients poorly controlled varied from 12 to 78 per cent at different practices. The proportion receiving oral steroids ranged from 0 to 38 per cent.

Study researcher Dr Dermot Ryan, a member of the General Practice Airways Group and a GP in Loughborough, Leicestershire, said: 'There's been a blanket assumption everyone has been doing equally badly. This shows some practices are doing somewhat better.'

The study ­ the first to investigate variation between practices in the UK ­ included data from 36 practices with more than 30 adult patients, and will now examine likely explanations.

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