Thousands of patients denied GP follow-up after asthma attack

Thousands of patients who receive emergency treatment after an asthma attack are missing out on follow-up GP appointments because their practice has not been alerted, a leading charity has warned.

Asthma warning (Photo: iStock.com/catinsyrup)
Asthma warning (Photo: iStock.com/catinsyrup)

Two out of three people who had emergency treatment for an asthma attack in 2018 did not have an emergency follow-up appointment with their GP practice, Asthma UK said.

NICE guidance recommends that patients who experience an asthma atttack should have a follow-up appointment with their GP or practice nurse within two days.

The charity's annual report on asthma care in the UK surveyed more than 10,000 patients and found that one in four needed emergency care after an asthma attack. Just 64% of these respondents were offered a GP practice appointment within the two-day window, the survey found.

The charity warned that urgent follow-up care was a key step in avoiding further asthma attacks and emergency admissions - with one in six people receiving emergency asthma treatment experiencing an attack within the following two weeks.

Asthma attack

But the charity warned that after patients receive hospital treatment, poor communication between NHS services means that GPs are not being notified - meaning patients must remember to book an appointment themselves.

Asthma UK clinical lead, GP Dr Andy Whittamore, said: 'It’s gravely concerning that so many people with asthma could be missing out on life-saving follow-up care. Once you have had an asthma attack, you are much more vulnerable to having another one.

'This is because there is more inflammation in your lungs so you are more sensitive to any asthma trigger such as cold weather or pollution. It is vital people see their doctor so they can get the help they need to avoid another asthma attack.

'Patients are slipping through the cracks because NHS systems are letting them down. It is vital that the NHS embraces technology to ensure patients get joined up care. It needs to put systems in place so that patients are automatically given follow-up care if they have had emergency treatment. It could save lives.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

COVID-19 death rate highest among BAME groups, delayed PHE review confirms

COVID-19 death rate highest among BAME groups, delayed PHE review confirms

Death rates from COVID-19 are highest among patients from BAME groups, according...

GPs face hundreds of complaints over shielding and PPE during pandemic

GPs face hundreds of complaints over shielding and PPE during pandemic

GP practices have faced hundreds of complaints over issues including shielding and...

More than 3,600 GP partners lost in four years as decline accelerates

More than 3,600 GP partners lost in four years as decline accelerates

The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) GP partners in England fell by 3,636 between...

COVID-19 pandemic leaves 2.4m patients stuck in cancer care backlog

COVID-19 pandemic leaves 2.4m patients stuck in cancer care backlog

Around 2.4m patients are waiting longer for cancer tests or treatment because of...

PHE report delayed on how ethnicity affects COVID-19 outcomes

PHE report delayed on how ethnicity affects COVID-19 outcomes

Public Health England (PHE) has missed its 31 May deadline for reporting on how factors...

Lockdown complacency threatens second COVID-19 spike that could 'overwhelm' NHS

Lockdown complacency threatens second COVID-19 spike that could 'overwhelm' NHS

Complacency around easing coronavirus lockdown measures could trigger a second wave...