The UK National Review of Asthma Deaths- May 2014

The national review of asthma deaths was realised/ published on the same day as World Asthma Day. Part of me wishes I had never read the report. The statistics are shocking and if I’m honest pretty frightening. Going through the report a lot of some of the findings I have experienced.  

  • people did not receive key elements of routine care
  • prescribing errors- often when i am admitted to hospital my medication is not prescribed correctly. I often don’t get medication at correct times particualry M/R tablets which are meant to be 12hrs a part to keep blood serum levels constant. Also medication taken at night is sometimes prescribed for the morning and vice versa
  • asthma attacks were poorly managed- I have an action plan and even when medics ask what my usual treatment plan is they ignore it and want to see how the attack progresses rather than take action quickly to prevent deterioration.

One of the statements shook me quite a bit more than the rest- anyone that is prescribed more than 12 reliever inhalers a year should be called in for urgent review. I am under specialist care but i go through between 3-4 ventolin inhalers alone in a month. That is not including nebulisers as well. I think this stood out to me and effected me and despite being relatively well just now and not needed a hospital admission it highlights just how reliant I am on medication to keep me out of hospital. If I didn’t take them I guess I would be a permanent fixture in the respiratory ward at the RIE. 

The most shocking thing I found was that there was room for improvement in 83% of the cases of asthma death. This is a huge number…only 17% of deaths were not avoidable.

This report makes me wonder that the three friends I lost in the last year due to asthma attacks were avoidable or not. Was their death due to mistakes made, or no action plan to implement, or why?? What are the reasons for their deaths. 

I may be over reacting but it makes me ask questions about my own asthma?? I have know known that there is every possibility that an asthma attack could kill me, I have had a consultant tell me to my face I could die from an attack. I try my hardest to keep it under control but sometimes my best is not good enough and this makes me feel like I fail. Often medical staff make me feel like I am not managing my condition well enough and I have such unstable asthma because I don’t take responsibility for it. No wonder there are people dying from asthma there have been times I have not wanted to go to hospital because I don’t feel my asthma is in a bad enough state to go to hospital yet I know the pattern it takes and it often goes bad. The number of times I have been in hospital and the nurses and Dr’s say its not too bad and dismiss it so the irrational part of my mind “says why go to hospital” if its not too bad. Yet on the other side when it is really bad and getting taken into resus you get asked why you didn’t come in sooner- its like you can’t win with the healthcare system sometimes. 

I try to be proactive in getting help early but when you are constantly in that situation you do feel like giving up. When you read reports like this you wonder why you put all your faith in the medical practitioners when you read these shocking statistics.

i have to say as frustrated as I get with my medical team, they do try their best but sometimes you just don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hopefully with the release of this report changes will happen. People will take asthma more serious hopefully and people will not die needlessly from asthma attacks. 

More money is required to fund research to help with asthma treatment. 

To read the full report go here:


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