Scottish health boards 'complacent' over asthma care

asthma sufferer using inhaler
Image caption An estimated 72,000 children suffer from asthma in Scotland

Research into the care of young people with asthma has exposed "shocking" complacency by some Scottish health boards, according to charity Asthma UK.

A survey by Healthcare Improvement Scotland suggested some boards had no register of local children and young people with the condition.

It also found they had failed to record the number of children admitted to hospital with asthma symptoms.

However, the survey suggested care had improved in the past three years.

The study, which is a follow-up to research conducted in 2008 by Quality Improvement Scotland, found some health boards had not developed a care protocol for children and young people with asthma.

It suggested some progress had been made, as most health boards now monitor how many children and young people are admitted to hospital, making it possible to plan their care better.

'Shocking reading'

However, Asthma UK said the number of emergency admissions had remained unchanged for a decade - suggesting the asthma of many young people was still being badly managed.

Asthma UK Scotland's national director Gordon Brown said: "This report makes shocking reading - especially when you consider Scotland has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world.

"Some health boards are doing some things very well - and this is down to the excellent staff within managed clinical networks.

"However, it seems that at a strategic level some complacency has crept in - that asthma has somehow been 'fixed' and priorities have now changed.

"This is borne out by the fact there has been no noticeable change in the unacceptably high emergency hospital admissions for children and young people with asthma in the last decade."

Mr Brown urged all health boards to put asthma higher up their agenda and revisit all the standards set by Quality Improvement Scotland.

He added: "To do this, they must receive the appropriate support and the government must now make good its manifesto commitment to improve the quality of care.

"We will be seeking urgent meetings with all those responsible to ensure this happens as a priority."

An estimated 72,000 children suffer from asthma in Scotland.

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