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02-05-2011 | General practice | Article

GPs ‘need asthma training’


Asthma UK

Two-thirds of GPs feel that their asthma knowledge could be improved, indicates a UK-wide survey conducted by asthma groups who call for a greater emphasis on asthma education in primary care.

The research also found that just over half (54%) of GPs questioned agreed that the number of deaths from asthma could be reduced with better care. And over half (55%) agreed that, with nurses often running asthma clinics, many GPs are becoming deskilled in asthma care.

The survey, conducted in mid-March this year by the Primary Care Respiratory Society and Asthma UK, involved 1001 currently practicing GPs randomly selected from 10 English Strategic Health Authorities and across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The two groups are calling for national standards for asthma care across the UK and for the Department of Health to publish its asthma outcomes strategy - and ensure that the NHS Commissioning Board has a respiratory team.

Neil Churchill, Chief Executive of Asthma UK, said it was "very concerning" that so many GPs had said they needed more asthma education, at a time "when education and training budgets are under threat".

He added: "We're urging commissioners of education and training to not cut budgets - it's completely counter-productive and will only lead to poorer quality care and worse outcomes, potentially adding further costs for acute care as well as causing unnecessary suffering for people with asthma."

Executive Chair of the Primary Care Society, Dr Iain Small commented: "We welcome this survey, and join Asthma UK in highlighting the need for specific asthma training and education for all staff involved in managing people with this condition. We believe that the breadth and depth of skills in asthma care has slipped in recent years, despite the evidence that asthma care and outcomes improve when clinicians receive recognised training."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Caroline Price

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