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Push for asthma telephone review

GPs have increased the pressure to allow telephone review of asthma patients for the quality and outcomes framework after submitting the strongest evidence yet on its effectiveness.

The General Practice Airways Group has pressed for telephone reviews using the results of a new study, finding they improve review rates without having any negative effect on morbidity.

The study of nearly 2,000 patients, to be published in September's British Journal of General Practice, found they were 12.6% more likely to be reviewed when allowed to arrange a time for the telephone consultation.

Patients who did not respond to three invitations were also phoned and reviewed opportunistically.

Patients monitored by telephone reported feeling more confident and better able to self-manage their condition. And the cost per review was cheaper (£10.01) than face-to-face (£12.74) or asthma clinics (£11.85).

Study leader Dr Hilary Pinnock, a GP in Whitstable, Kent, and member of the GPAG, said: 'Our study suggests there is a place for it in general practice. It's not right for everybody, but equally there are many people with well-controlled asthma for whom this is appropriate.

'In terms of the QOF, the choice is not so much between telephone or face-to-face consultations, but between reviewing patients with asthma or exception reporting them.'

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, a GPC negotiator and a GP in Edgware, Middlesex, said: 'There are elements of asthma monitoring for which telephone review wouldn't be suitable, like checking inhaler technique. But if there is evidence for it, then clearly it merits assessment and, if appropriate, inclusion in the QOF.'

Telephone asthma reviews have no negative effect on morbidity Telephone asthma reviews have no negative effect on morbidity

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