The UK must treat asthma patients “promptly” and take the condition “seriously”, a charity is warning, after the number of Britons dying from it rose by more than 20% in just five years.
Asthma UK is calling on the NHS to invest in “better front-line services” after discovering Britain is performing poorly compared to its European neighbours.
The charity said that between 2011 and 2015, the UK’s average asthma death rate was almost 50% higher than the average across the EU, according to its own analysis.
Around 1,400 people died from an asthma attack in the UK in 2015, it said.
The UK’s death rate was higher than countries including Greece, Italy and the Netherlands. Only Serbia, Turkey, Estonia, Spain and Cyprus fared worse.
Releasing the figures on World Asthma Day, the charity said the situation was “truly shocking”, but did not know “for sure” why Britain was performing so badly.
A “lack of understanding could play a part”, it said.
The charity’s director of research and policy, Dr Samantha Walker, said that while other countries were “improving”, Britain was “lagging behind”.
“Asthma kills and we are urging the NHS to invest in better front-line asthma services, for people with asthma to make sure they take their medication properly, and for healthcare professionals to take asthma seriously, diagnose asthma patients effectively and treat them promptly,” she said.
The rate of asthma deaths per 100,000 people in the UK was 1.83 in 2011, and 2.21 in 2015, the charity said.
The UK average across that period was 1.98, compared to 0.15 in Greece, 0.67 in Italy and 0.56 in the Netherlands.
The average across the European Union was 1.32 deaths per 100,000 people.
Spain and France – like the UK – both saw an increase in asthma death rates over the five year period.
From – SkyNews