Asthma quality points reduce admissions

High quality scores for asthma may have helped cut emergency admission rates for the condition by up to 65 per cent, data from Asthma UK suggests .

Lower quality framework scores correlated with emergency admission rates more than double the national average in some cases.

The findings come from an analysis of quality framework scores and standardised emergency admission rates for PCTs in England in 2004, the year when the quality was introduced.

This showed that the 5 per cent of PCTs with the highest emergency hospital admission rate for asthma — 79 per cent above the national standard on average — achieved around 87 per cent of the possible score for asthma.

But the 5 per cent of PCTs with the lowest admission rates — 51 per cent below the national rate on average — achieved nearly 94 per cent of quality points for asthma.

In its report, Asthma UK said that much of the variation in emergency admissions for asthma is linked to the quality of care patients receive.

Differences in quality scores account for around 10 per cent of the disparities in admissions across England, Asthma UK said.

In 2004, asthma indicators were worth 72 quality points.

The 2005/06 version awards 45 points.

Each year, an estimated £58.3 million is spent on hospital admissions for asthma.

Three quarters of the 67,700 admissions that occurred in 2004 could have been avoided with appropriate and timely care, said Asthma UK.

If these admissions had been avoided it could have saved the NHS £43.7 million.

Wiltshire GP Dr Kevin Gruffyd-Jones, who has an interest in asthma, said: ‘It shows that prevention of admissions starts with good chronic asthma care.

‘If people are getting high quality scores they may be doing more than what is in the framework,’ he added.

Dr John Haughney, Glasgow GP and president of the International Primary Care Respiratory Group, said: ‘I would expect that good proactive care would lead to less hospital admissions.

‘If this is true, then it’s great news for patients, for the NHS and for the people who are providing the care.

‘So can we have our pay rise now?’

Cutting admissions 
National average for asthma emergency admissions in 2004 was classed as 100 after demographic factors were considered.

 PCT  Admission rate % of quality points  
 Uttlesford 36  98.6
 Newcastle 100* 91.0
 Heart of Birmingham 214  88.9  
 * National average admission rate = 100           Source: Asthma UK

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