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In full: Letter criticising NICE asthma over-diagnosis message

Reports over a million wrongly diagnosed with asthma ‘unhelpul and misleading’, argue experts

Dear Editor

Recent assertions that over one million people may have been wrongly diagnosed with asthma, which accompanied the release of the NICE draft guidance on asthma diagnosis, are misleading and unhelpful.

In reality, asthma diagnosis is complex, and many people who do have it may not show clear signs on clinical testing. We are concerned that millions of people with asthma who do need treatment have now been left with uncertainty about their diagnosis and care.

What is in no doubt is that care must improve. Only last year, the National Review of Asthma Deaths revealed shockingly two thirds of asthma deaths were preventable with routine care. This is supported by even more recent findings from Asthma UK, which revealed that 8 out of 10 people in the UK are not receiving care that meets even the most basic clinical standards.

Asthma is serious and healthcare professionals must remember there is no room for complacency.

Dr Robert Niven, Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine; Ann-Louise Caress, Professor of Nursing; Dr Seher Zaidi, Clinical Research Fellow; Dr Jane R Smith, Research Fellow in Psychology Applied to Health; Dr Andrew M Wilson, Clinical Senior Lecture; Ian Russell, Professor of Clinical Trials; Dr Dermot Ryan, GP; Professor Ashley Woodcock, Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Helen J Paynter; Paediatric Nurse Specialist and Antonis Kousoulis, Business Development Lead at Clinical Practice Research Datalink

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