Short of breath?

What has gone wrong with asthma care?

Back in the mid-eighties, the wonderful Greta Barnes started the Asthma Training Centre in Stratford-on-Avon.  It offered courses in Asthma Management to Primary Care Practice Nurses and was an enormous success.  The model of face-to-face teaching and distance learning was brilliant and was used, with her blessing, to develop our first course in Diabetes Management followed several years later by our own Respiratory Disease Management course, which covers both asthma and COPD.

Greta’s Asthma course produced a whole generation of Practice Nurses who revolutionised asthma treatment.  Hospital admissions fell dramatically.  Indeed the course was such a success and treatment so good that asthma was completely ignored when the first GMS QOF came out in 2004.  No need, the treatment was working.

The Asthma Training Centre moved to Warwick and eventually evolved into Education for Health.

So it is very depressing to read that, in the last few years, asthma deaths have started to climb.  Prescription of relievers at the expense of preventers has soared, disguising serious disease in patients.

So what has gone wrong ?

Could it be that we have become complacent?  That untrained people are treating asthma?  If this is the scenario, then urgent action is needed.  Asthma and other chronic diseases such as diabetes should only be treated by properly trained staff.  There are many excellent courses available from both ourselves and Education for Health.


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