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People in deprived areas more likely to be hospitalised or die from asthma

Where a patient lives, their age and economic circumstance can affect their chances of developing asthma and the care that they receive, finds a new Asthma UK report.

On the Edge: How inequality affects people with asthma outlines the impact of health inequality on people with asthma, and outlines a possible solution to help reduce this unfair burden.

The key findings are:

  • Asthma is more prevalent within more deprived communities, and those living in more deprived areas of England are more likely to be hospitalised or die from an asthma attack.
  • Those from disadvantaged socio-economic groups are more likely to be exposed to the causes and triggers of asthma, such as smoking and air pollution.
  • There is significant variation in access to basic asthma care across different areas of the country, age group and ethnicity.
  • Asthma self-management, is harder to embed in groups with lower health literacy.
  • To reduce health inequality in asthma and enable people to better adhere to self-managed treatment, there must be preventative action on the causes of asthma and its triggers, improved access to basic care, and digital innovation to improve engagement in healthcare and health literacy.

PCRS Chair Dr Noel Baxter says: “The current focus on respiratory and the anticipated priority status in the NHS England Long Term Plan is in great part because of the need to attend to health inequity. This report provides the evidence that supports what people working with people living with difficult asthma will already know.

“The PCRS prioritises better asthma care but also looking at the person before the disease. Right care requires right prescribing of inhaled drugs and good technique and understanding but to be truly effective needs to be holistic and consider the environmental, addiction and other psychosocial factors that will make the difference to future outcomes.”

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