The national study, Why Asthma still kills, involved a detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding 195 deaths from asthma in the UK in 2012. In total, the UK recorded 1,242 deaths from asthma during this year – meaning that we had some of the highest death rates in Europe.

In the UK, approximately 5.4 million people currently receive treatment for asthma. Its severity can vary significantly, with some asthmatic patients leading relatively normal lives while other lack the ability to carry out some everyday activities. There is no recognised cure for the disease, but it can be managed using regular preventative treatment and by reducing patient’s exposure to know triggers.

This month Asthma UK reports that the NHS spends £1 billion on asthma annually, yet 1,410 patients died from asthma related causes in 2016. A review found 58% of asthma deaths involved people being treated for both mild or moderate asthma, and 49% of patients had not had their exacerbation triggers defined or documented. Results of a study reducing mite exposure showed that risk of further asthma exacerbations requiring a hospital visit/stay was reduced by 45%.

Helping patients identify specific allergen triggers will allow them to implement more effective management strategies. These can help them avoid potential asthma exacerbation, reducing the risk associated with the condition and leading to better patient outcomes.

Newly launched asthma guidelines from NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) also recommend new approaches to how asthma is diagnosed and treated. The changes, which apply to NHS asthma services in England, are focused on improving the accuracy of diagnosis, and introducing more effective treatment and monitoring of asthma. These new guidelines should give healthcare professionals more certainty when they diagnose people with asthma. An accurate, timely diagnosis is vital, so people with asthma can be treated with the right medicines that can make such a big difference to their symptoms and quality of life.

“Asthma UK welcomes any guidelines that look at improving the diagnosis and treatment of asthma. Guidelines, used alongside your healthcare professional's clinical judgement, help get the right care for you, based on the latest evidence”

We hope that these changes will help to reduce the number of deaths associated with asthma.

Our team of clinical negligence specialists at Anthony Collins Solicitors have extensive experience of cases that sadly involve deaths from asthma. We recognise the intricate medico-legal issues involved in the cases and we strive to guide families through the legal process with sensitivity and care. This can often involve helping families through an Inquest, as well as offering advice and assistance in relation to advancing a potential negligence claim.

For more information

If you would like to discuss a potential claim in confidence; or if you are concerned about ongoing aspects of asthma management then please contact Stephanie Moustache.