This is often because parents from low socio-economic backgrounds panic and believe the hospital will treat the attack quicker than the GP, say the researchers.
They found little evidence that the increased admissions were due to damp housing, overcrowding or living with a smoker.
The findings come from a study of asthmatic children in London. The researchers analysed the records of 1,018 asthmatic children who attended A&E in the previous 12 months and 394 who had not. Their parents were interviewed about socio-economic status and why they sought help.
This showed that children from poorer backgrounds were 13 times more likely to be taken to A&E. But among those who had faith in their GP’s ability to control an asthma attack, the likelihood of admission to A&E was reduced by 70 per cent.