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Review asthma patients more often, GPs urged

A leading charity is urging GPs to review their asthma patients more often than stipulated in the quality and outcomes framework.

In a new report, Asthma UK calls for adults to be reviewed on a yearly basis and children once every six months, compared with the current target of once every 15 months for all patients.

The recommendations follow results of a survey showing one patient in five with severe asthma fears their next attack will kill them (see box).

Asthma UK is using the survey to highlight the impact of severe asthma on patients and to push for changes in treatment.

It thinks asthma patients should have the right to local access to a doctor or nurse with specific asthma training.

Professor Martyn Partridge, professor of respiratory medicine at Imperial College London and Asthma UK's chief medical adviser, said: 'All too often people with severe asthma are missing out on effective interventions.

'Implementation of the recommendations contained with- in the British asthma guidelines should now be a national priority.'

The report highlighted continuity of care as a key factor in patients' perceptions of their treatment, saying: 'Those that they already know well, such as their own GPs, generally treat them well.'

The report, Living on a Knife Edge, was launched to coincide with World Asthma Day on May 4 and covered 500 people with severe asthma.

Asthma UK findings

?One in five views asthma as life-threatening

?Half have more than one asthma attack per week

?Severe asthma causes isolation in the under-45s

– nearly half say social life is restricted

?Younger patients are concerned about medication side-effects

?Four out of five patients reported speech-limiting attacks

?Less than 10 per cent of patients expect to be symptom- or episode-free in the next five years

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