Management of asthma a 'priority' but more funding needed so that GPs can give patients more time, says RCGP

Publication date: 23 January 2019

Responding to an Asthma UK report on care of 'millennials' with asthma, Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Asthma must never be underestimated as it is a serious condition that can claim lives in any age group.

"We really sympathise with our younger patients who are finding it hard to book a GP appointment, but we are working harder than ever and seeing more patients than ever. Unfortunately, we have a chronic shortage of family doctors right across the country because investment in our service has not kept pace with demand and there is a limit beyond which we can no longer guarantee safe care.

"GPs and our teams are highly trained to manage asthma in partnership with our patients, including identifying symptoms, prescribing appropriately and monitoring treatment.

"We encourage the use of personal asthma action plans for patients and we aim to work with all patients with high-risk conditions to ensure they are undergoing regular reviews.

"It is also vitally important that patients understand their own treatment and how to properly use equipment, such as inhalers, spacer devices and peak flow meters, and GPs take every step to encourage patients of all ages to feel more confident about managing their condition effectively and appropriately.

"Respiratory disease is a clinical priority for our College and all trainee GPs are required to develop skills in diagnosing and managing patients of all ages and backgrounds with asthma and other airways conditions, which are then tested in the professional examinations which every GP must pass before they can work in general practice.

"We would like to devote more time to our patients with chronic diseases such as asthma, but we need more GPs, more members of our wider practice teams, and more funding in order to do this.

"Ultimately, we need to see NHS England's GP Forward View, which promised an extra £2.5bn a year for general practice, delivered, in full, as soon as possible, along with guarantees that general practice will receive a significant share of the additional funding earmarked for primary and community care outlined in the NHS Long-Term Plan.

"We also need better and faster information sharing between primary and secondary care to improve the outcomes of patients with asthma to ensure all our patients are receiving the best possible care."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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