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Asthma patients fail to receive recommended follow-up care after hospitalisation

Asthma patients fail to receive recommended follow-up care after hospitalisation

Over eighty per cent of asthma patients hospitalised following an asthma attack are not getting appropriate follow-up care, a new study has found.

Data collected by the University of Birmingham shows that only eighteen per cent of hospitalised asthma patients had a GP appointment within the recommended forty-eight-hour period.

A significant majority of patients do not get the recommended two-day follow-up with their GP and often wait months for a review. The findings were worse for black patients, and the researchers suggest there are ‘serious inequalities’ in the follow-up care received.

The new data is published in the British Journal of General Practice.

Using electronic healthcare records collected between 2017 and 2019, the researchers analysed data from over 17,000 patients over the age of five.

The findings show that the current recommendations for follow-up care of asthma patients are not being met, and primary care appointments after hospitalisation are falling far outside the forty-eight-hour window for most asthma patients.

Eighty-two per cent did not receive the recommended follow-up care within forty-eight hours, and only sixty per cent of patients had a primary care follow-up within twenty-eight days of hospitalisation.

Further evidence suggests that while just over half of patients received medication following an appointment, only thirteen per cent of patients were offered asthma reviews, and just eight per cent were offered management plans.

Dr Shamil Haroon, from the University of Birmingham, said: ‘Not only are most patients not getting care in the recommended time frame of forty-eight hours, but patients are being left for months and more before being reviewed. We recommend that robust plans be put in place to ensure that these recommendations are being followed more closely, and greater scrutiny where they are not.’

The inequalities highlighted in the study also showed that black patients receive less care associated with their asthma management. The researchers estimate that depending on their age, black patients were between twenty-seven per cent and fifty-four per cent less likely to receive the level of care that their white peers were provided.

Dr Prasad Nagakumar, from Birmingham Children’s Hospital and senior author, added: ‘Our study highlights significant shortfalls in implementing the recommendations of the 2014 national review of asthma deaths for follow-up of hospitalised asthma patients.

‘It is time for policy makers to review the recommendations to reduce the health inequalities experienced by black and ethnic minority groups who also have a high risk of fatal and near fatal asthma attacks.’


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