PSNC: Community Pharmacy can help reverse UK asthma deaths trend

PSNC: Community Pharmacy can help reverse UK asthma deaths trend

May 2, 2018

It was World Asthma Day yesterday (May 1st) and pharmacy teams may have seen press coverage of an Asthma UK report revealing that the rate of asthma deaths in the UK has increased by more than 20% in five years.

Analysis by the charity has found that whilst the majority of countries in Europe have seen a decline in asthma death rates, the UK’s average asthma death rate is almost 50% higher than the average across the European Union.

Previous research conducted by Asthma UK discovered that almost two-thirds of people with asthma are not receiving the basic care they are entitled to and the charity is suggesting this is a key cause of the increase in deaths.

See all the statistics from Asthma UK here.

Community pharmacies are already working to make a real difference in this area. Just last year pharmacies in England identified an estimated 12,500 high-risk asthma patients and referred them for review as part of the 2017/18 Quality Payments Scheme. Pharmacies also offer Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) to help people to use their inhalers correctly and the New Medicine Service to support patients newly diagnosed with asthma.

A number of resources are available to help pharmacy teams to carry out asthma audits and support patients with lung conditions, for example:

Community pharmacies could also make a much greater contribution to the care of people with long-term conditions, such as asthma, through the provision of more regular inhaler technique checks and advice. PSNC would like to see people with asthma given access to a proposed pharmacy service through which they would receive regular pharmacy support to help them to develop care plans and to better manage their condition.

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