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New child health report calls for action to prevent hospital admissions for asthma

The UK has the worst emergency hospital admission and death rates for children with asthma in Europe warns a new child health report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

Nearly one in five children in the UK is living in poverty and this deprivation increases the number of hospital admissions for asthma which have continued to rise over the last decade.

This report follows the British Thoracic Society’s (BTS) National Paediatric Audit, published in November which recommended that a greater level of asthma education and review is needed on discharge from hospital to help prevent future attacks and readmission to hospital.

Dr Noel Baxter, PCRS-UK Chair, says: ‘From this report we see the usual messages that we know would improve outcomes for people with asthma. Future best care for people living with asthma will be defined through individualised approaches that include a focus on phenotypes defined by genetics, environmental triggers and response to treatment.  This report and the BTS paediatric audit now suggest another phenotype for us to consider, one that will need tackling by action on poverty and the factors often associated with it including familial tobacco dependency, poor air quality and poor housing. We can and should be doing something about this.’

Action you can take to prevent admissions:

  • Support pregnant women to stop smoking
  • Follow the latest BTS/SIGN guidance on asthma management  
  • All children with asthma should be provided with a personal asthma action plan and an annual review by a healthcare professional  
  • Make sure your practice has a system to trigger a review when notified about a child’s asthma episode that was treated in hospital.
  • Check that the basis for the diagnosis of asthma recorded in the notes was sound, particularly if the diagnosis was made for the first time at this admission.


  • The RCPCH State of Child Health report 2017 can be downloaded HERE 
  • The BTS National Paediatric Audit can be downloaded HER
  • The BTS SIGN 2016 guideline on the management of asthma can be downloaded HERE
  • Access Asthma UK personal asthma action plans HERE

The PCRS-UK does not guarantee, and accepts no legal liability for, the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any archived material or linked website.  This is an archived resource/news item

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