Published on May 3, 2011 at 4:46 AM
By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
According to figures revealed by authorities, a lack of training for GPs in how to treat asthma is putting sufferers' lives at risk. Asthma UK says a survey found that 47 per cent of GPs admit their own knowledge about the condition could be better. Emergency hospital admissions for asthma cost the NHS over £60m a year, yet the charity maintains 75 per cent of admissions are avoidable. It estimates at least £45m could be saved if GPs were better informed and care was better managed.
These numbers come from a survey of GPs in Scotland by Asthma UK Scotland and the Primary Care Respiratory Society UK (PCRS). The report showed that asthma education is a low priority, despite half of GPs agreeing that the number of deaths from asthma in Scotland could be reduced with better care. More than two thirds of GPs in Scotland feel knowledge of asthma in the profession could be improved, and over half recognize their own knowledge could be improved. However, 70 per cent of GPs say problems were also caused by patients not taking their medicines. The report says, “These findings show asthma training is not being given the priority it deserves.”
World Asthma Day 2011 is observed today. The study comes after announcements that NHS training budgets could be cut. The charity is calling on the Department of Health to make asthma a higher priority within the reformed NHS. Neil Churchill of Asthma UK said, “Asthma training is not being given the priority it deserves despite the fact that asthma hospitalizes someone every seven minutes.”