Asthma UK says that hundreds of deaths could have been prevented
Charity says while fewer people died from asthma last year, 40 families still lost a loved one to an asthma attack. Better basic care is vital and could save lives
In the last year, 40 people in Northern Ireland have died from asthma, according to figures released by Northern Ireland and Statistics Research Agency today (Tuesday 11 November 2017). Kay Boycott, Chief Executive at Asthma UK says:
“In the last six years, 213 people have died from asthma attacks in Northern Ireland. While fewer people have died from an asthma attack this year compared to last in Northern Ireland, that is still 40 families who have lost a loved one. In many cases their deaths could have been prevented.
“Two thirds of people who die from an asthma attack could have survived if they had had better basic care. This includes getting a written asthma action plan which explains how to manage their asthma on a day-to-day basis and what to do if their condition gets worse. They should also have their asthma reviewed every year to ensure they are on the right medication and if they’re taking them properly.
“Three years ago, in the National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) report 19 recommendations were made which would help to reduce avoidable risk and deaths from asthma. Only one recommendation has been implemented – that everyone with asthma has an annual review – but only 70 percent of people are receiving this. This is completely unacceptable.”
“The Northern Irish government must now take rapid action to ensure the other recommendations, such as hospitals and general practices having a named clinical asthma lead, are in place for everyone with asthma. Basic asthma care will save lives.”
Donna Green, 42, a mum-of-four from Lurgan, Northern Ireland, lost her 20-year-old son, Tiernan, due to an asthma attack in January this year. She said:
“It is a comfort to learn that fewer people in Northern Ireland have died from asthma attacks this year than last. However, it is distressing to think that still too many people are still dying from asthma and many are not getting the basic care that could prevent this.
“We are still completely devastated by the loss of our son. Tiernan had been diagnosed with asthma from a young age, but never really had any problems with his asthma until two years ago when he was hospitalised following a terrifying asthma attack.
“It breaks our hearts to think our precious son would still be alive if he had attended his check-up appointments and taken his preventer medicines correctly.
“I don’t want other families to go through the pain we have faced and that’s why I’m urging anyone with asthma, or parents of children with asthma, to speak to their GP to make sure they have a correct care plan in place. It could save lives.”
About Asthma UK
•In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).
•Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and tragically two thirds of these deaths are preventable.
•Asthma UK’s mission is to stop asthma attacks and cure asthma. We do this by funding world leading research, campaigning for improved care and supporting people to reduce their risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
•For more information about asthma please visit www.asthma.org.uk