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Improving outcomes for children with asthma: role of national audit
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    Improving outcomes for children with asthma: role of national audit

    Dear Editor

    In their report “Improving outcomes for children with asthma: role of national audit”(1), Sinha et al highlight the fact that the UK has one of the highest mortality figures from childhood asthma for high-income countries worldwide. They detect complacency regarding childhood asthma, and call for a targeted proactive model to improve matters.
    The possible explanation for their observations regarding clinic attendance may be relevant to these wider issues.
    The most likely explanation is that parents had not been given adequate safety netting advice regarding how to recognise and treat acute attacks. Such safety netting should have included parent- initiated steroids. Had this safety netting been in place, each of the cases reported would have already been started on oral steroids.
    Another possibility is that the parents had not even been told that their child had asthma, or that asthma can kill. Many units seem to make children “earn” a diagnosis of asthma, after several years of being labelled “Viral associated wheeze”.

    In my experience working as a locum around the UK, most units stop short of permitting parent- initiated steroids. Parents are simply told to use up to 10 puffs of a beta agonist and if this doesn’t work to “Seek medical advice”. However, this policy fails to recognise that severe attacks can occur in situations where medical help is not close at hand, for instance on holidays in remote places or abroad. Surely we...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.