Hinal Patel, Respiratory Programme Manager at KSS AHSN, reflects on the importance of World Asthma Day on 3rd May 2022, and programmes of work that KSS AHSN is supporting to help close the gap in asthma care.

Respiratory disease (asthma, COPD or another longstanding respiratory illness) affects one in five people in England and is the third biggest cause of death, which is why the condition is identified as a clinical priority in the NHS Long Term Plan.

As these statistics from the British Lung Foundation show, its impact is far reaching:

  • Around 1 in 12 UK adults, and 1 in 11 children, are receiving treatment for asthma
  • Asthma accounts for 2-3% of primary care consultations
  • 60,000 hospital admissions and 200,000 bed days per year in the UK are attributed to the condition
  • Asthma attacks kill three people in the UK each day and every 10 seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

However, many of these severe attacks and deaths could be avoided by taking simple measures to improve care. The key challenges for the health system with regards to asthma are early diagnosis, correct treatment, and good education to enable self-management.

Kent Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network is pleased to be working on two NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) projects delivered under the Rapid Uptake Products (RUP) programme that focus on improving in asthma care by supporting early and accurate diagnosis.

Through our Kent , Surrey and Sussex Respiratory Network we have been able to deliver and support initiatives to increase system wide uptake and spread of these programmes that aim to contribute towards improving asthma care in England:

Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) – this test is a way of measuring the amount of nitric oxide in an exhaled breath. It can help with the diagnosis of asthma by showing the level of inflammation in the lungs.

The aim of the FeNO Rapid Uptake Product (RUP) programme is to improve patient care and outcomes by more effectively diagnosing patients with suspected asthma, and increase widespread patient and clinician access to FeNO testing across primary care.

Asthma biologics programme – this approach looks at the whole pathway for patients with severe asthma. It focuses on optimising pathways that help with early identification of people with uncontrolled asthma, appropriate referral of patients needing further specialist input and supporting patients to self-administer their medicine at home.

  • If you ‘d like to find out more about our work then please get in touch.