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The University of Southampton

Professor Mike Thomas contributes to National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD)

Published: 6 June 2014
Image of Pforessor Mike Thomas

As part of the launch of the NRAD, the ‘Why asthma still kills’ report was published on 6 May 2014 to coincide with World Asthma Day.

NRAD Chief Medical Advisor and Primary Care Respiratory Society (PCRS) Representative, Professor Mike Thomas, presented his talk on ‘What the NRAD report means for Primary Care’. You can watch a video of the launch event here.

The review had found deficiencies in both the routine care of asthma and the treatment of attacks; there was ‘room for improvement’ in the care received by 83% of those who died. Nearly half of people who died did so without seeking medical help or before emergency care could be provided. Improvements are needed so that both patients and healthcare professionals are better are recognizing the signs of deterioration in asthma, and are better at acting quickly when faced with a potentially fatal attack.

Dr Kevin Stewart, clinical director of the RCP’s clinical effectiveness and evaluation unit said: “It’s time to end our complacency about asthma, which can, and does, kill. There are important messages in this report for clinicians, for patients and their families and for policy makers. We haven’t paid enough attention to the importance of good routine asthma care by clinicians with the right training and experience and the part that patients themselves play in this. Too often we have also been slow to detect signs of poor asthma control and slow to act when these have been present, with tragic consequences for some families. We can and we must do better.”

Professor Mike Thomas comments “The bad news is that an asthma death is a disaster and usually preventable, deaths are most likely to occur in people who are identifiably at high risk. But the good news is that practice systems can be improved to identify those at risk, every patient with asthma would benefit from a Personal Asthma Action Plan and collaborative work from professionals and patients is needed, with organizational support.”

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