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Child asthma care variation

6th May 2008

The charity Asthma UK has warned of "worrying" variations in the standards of care provided to children who suffer from asthma attacks in England.

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A report by Asthma UK has revealed that a child is admitted to hospital due to the condition once every 16 minutes in the UK.

It showed that admissions for children with asthma in Liverpool were 192% higher than the England average. Primary Care Trusts which also had high admissions included Knowsley, Sefton, Manchester, Heart of Birmingham and Oldham.

The ten trusts which had the least admissions were all in the South-East of the country and included Berkshire West, Hillingdon, West Essex and Milton Keynes.

The NHS spends £61 million annually on emergency hospital admissions. However Asthma UK said three-quarters of asthma-related admissions could be avoided if the condition was managed more thoughtfully.

Dudley PCT has a rate of admission which is 34% below the national average. It has tackled the problem by employing a specialist asthma nurse.

Neil Churchill, chief executive of Asthma UK, said: "These divisions are unacceptable, particularly the staggering eight-fold difference in admissions in England."

"If asthma is not controlled effectively, the effects can be devastating and in some cases fatal."

A Department Health spokeswoman said: "The government takes treating asthma very seriously. By 2010 we would expect everyone with a long-term condition, like asthma, to be offered their own care plan."


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