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More specialist nurses, fewer asthma deaths

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More specialist asthma nursing posts are required to combat the needlessly high rates of death among asthma sufferers in the UK, a report by the Royal College of Physicians said.

The National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) review concluded that there were not enough specialist clinicians in primary care able to recognise the signs and symptoms of asthma. The review also recommended that all asthma patients should have an individual care plan to monitor their condition as it changes over time.

Rebecca Sherrington, chair of the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, said: 'Respiratory diseases affect one in five people in the UK, and asthma is among the most common. The expertise does exist to provide meaningful help when people most need it.

'It will take a co-ordinated effort to ensure that there are enough specialist nurses, and enough training for all other clinical staff. Not delivering these improvements is simply not an option if we are to prevent more individuals dying needlessly.'

The NRAD was the largest ever review conducted into deaths caused by asthma. It examined 195 cases where the suspected cause of death was asthma.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulation Agency opened a consultation 9 May on whether schools should be allowed to stock emergency salbutamol inhalers. It will run until 30 May.

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