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GPs and primary care nurses need to pay more attention to asthma

Many people with asthma are enduring an unacceptably high level of symptoms according to the General Practice Airways Group (GPIAG). The GPIAG hopes that the publication of the new substantially revised "British Guideline on the Management of Asthma" will draw both clinicians and managers attention to the problem.
The new guideline produced by the British Thoracic Society (BTS) and Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) in conjunction with, GPIAG, Asthma UK and others, features:

  • A completely rewritten section on diagnosis of asthma in adults and children.
  • Updated sections on pharmacological and nonpharmacological management - highlighting that effective treatments are available and the goal at each step should be no, or very few symptoms (eg, no more than three times a week).
  • A strengthening of the recommendation that regular reviews for people with asthma should include self-management education including the provision of a written personalised self management plan.
  • A reminder to review diagnosis and concordance if control is poor.
  • A new section on difficult asthma (managing people with asthma-like symptoms or persistent exacerbations despite prescription of high does asthma therapy). Key messages include the need to take a systematic approach to the management of these complex patients including the importance of establishing an accurate diagnosis.

The GPIAG hopes that all primary care health professionals will adopt these recommendations as a routine part of their clinical practice.

For more information on the "British Guideline on the  Management of Asthma" go to