New report shows impact of FeNO national programme on asthma care in England

A new report is showcasing the impact of a national AHSN Network programme to improve access to FeNO testing for asthma diagnosis.

Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) tests are simple, non-invasive tests to measure the amount of nitric oxide in an exhaled breath – a biomarker for airway inflammation. FeNO testing can improve patient care by contributing to a faster and more effective asthma diagnosis, alongside a clinical history and other tests, and can be used to monitor patient response to treatments.

From April 2021 to March 2023, KSS AHSN and the other AHSNs in England supported the adoption and spread of FeNO under the NHS England Accelerated Access Collaborative’s (AAC) Rapid Uptake Products Programme.

During the two-year programme an estimated 58,000 new asthmatics received a faster, more accurate diagnosis through the use of FeNO testing with an additional 1,200 FeNO devices entering use in primary care in England. It is estimated 53% of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in England now have access to FeNO testing.

For some patients, gaining access to FeNO testing as part of their asthma care has been life-changing.

The programme, led by Wessex AHSN, saw KSS AHSN work within our regional system to support asthma pathway improvements by providing specialist implementation support and clinical leadership, sharing best practice, and developing supporting materials for those involved in asthma care. A FeNO implementation toolkit, which provided practical advice and support for teams adopting FeNO testing, was viewed more than 13,500 times and remains available for NHS staff to use.

Dr Andy Whittamore, GP, Clinical Lead Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation, and joint FeNO national clinical lead, said: “During the course of the programme we have seen a transformative approach to the use of FeNO testing in primary care and we estimate we’ve supported the correct diagnosis of 58,000 new asthmatics. There are now hundreds of additional FeNO devices in use across services in England, meaning more patients have access to quick, simple and accurate testing.”

Read the FeNO programme impact report on the Wessex AHSN website now

You can hear from one of the programme’s patients here: