Better access to practice nurses cuts emergency asthma treatment

University of East Anglia research found most A&E admissions for the condition are associated with preventable factors

Patients with asthma who have better access to practice nurses and GPs have fewer related emergency admissions, research has shown.

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Up to 90% of asthma-related deaths and 70% of emergency admissions for the condition are associated with potentially preventable factors, according to a University of East Anglia study.

The research team studied patient data for more than 3 million people with asthma across 7,806 practices in England.

Primary care link

They found a 32% reduction in asthma-related emergency treatment for every 10% improvement in access to primary care.

Lead researcher Robert Fleetcroft, from the university’s Norwich Medical School, said: ‘This research adds weight to the growing association between better access to primary care and lower rates of emergency admissions for a number of other conditions, including heart failure, diabetes, stroke, cancer and epilepsy’.

Using technology

Practice nurse Sian Rowlands, who works at a GP surgery in Swansea, said asthma patients tend to have high non-attendance rates, and technology could help address this.

She said in her practice, patients who needed to be seen were being contacted via email or text message, using data from pharmacy audits and an online review system.

‘I think it has got to be the way forward in 2016, to use email and text message to contact patients, rather than just writing to them,’ Ms Rowlands said.

Further information:

Emergency admissions for asthma and access to primary care study

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