Lack of follow-up care for asthma sufferers 'a concern', says lung charity 

Research found only 40% who had been hospitalised with asthma were getting necessary care within two days of leaving hospital.

Lack of follow-up care for asthma sufferers ‘a concern’, says lung charity iStock

Lack of follow-up care for Scots hospitalised with asthma is “a concern”, a leading lung charity has said.

Data from Asthma + Lung UK Scotland’s annual survey showing that only 40% of respondents who had been hospitalised with asthma were getting vital care within days of being discharged.

The current SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network) guidance states that people should make an appointment with their own doctor within two days of leaving hospital to make sure their symptoms are under control. 

The survey commissioned by leading lung charity Asthma + Lung UK Scotland spoke to 951 people with asthma, including 230 people who had been hospitalised, about their experience.

Gemma Banks from Fife, 41, who works in an accounts department said: “After having a bad cough and chest infection for many weeks, I became very wheezy and out of breath and went to A&E.

“I was admitted and spent three days in hospital. I was then diagnosed with asthma which was a bit of a shock. I was given inhalers, and it was explained to me how to use them and when.  

“Two weeks after leaving hospital, I had another attack. My husband has asthma, so he helped me bring it back under control using my inhalers, so luckily, I didn’t need to go back to hospital.  

“I then made an appointment with my GP, who under guidance from the practice’s asthma nurse, was told to up my medication. I then made an appointment with the asthma nurse, which was for three weeks later, and she then ran through my asthma plan and checked I was using my inhalers properly and that I was on the correct medication.  

Gemma Banks, 41, said eight weeks to receive follow-up care is 'too long'

“When I left hospital, I did get a letter from my local asthma clinic offering me a telephone appointment for eight weeks later. As someone recently diagnosed with asthma, I do think that an eight-week gap is too long.

“I would have also wanted to see someone face to face rather than just a telephone call, just so they could have checked that I was using my inhaler properly for example.”

Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland said:  “According to NHS data, we know that around one in six people who receive emergency care for an asthma attack need hospital care again within two weeks. This is far too high. 

“To help prevent this, it is vital that the person sees their GP or asthma nurse within a few days so they can be supported in their recovery.  

“Asthma attacks can be incredibly serious, sometimes even resulting in death. 

“We understand that GP practices are busy, but we are urging people to contact them once they are home from hospital so that a follow up appointment can take place.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring that people living with respiratory conditions such as asthma receive the best possible care, treatment and support.

“We urge people to follow all advice given to them on discharge from hospital, including making an appointment with their GP or asthma nurse as directed. They will be best placed to provide specific advice and support based on their individual circumstances.”

The GP or asthma nurse can support recovery and lower the risk of another attack by: 

  • Prescribing a course of steroid tablets to deal with the inflammation and swelling in the airways, if this hasn’t been offered already by the hospital  
  • Check the medicines the person has been prescribed to see what dose is best and check their inhaler technique, to make sure their asthma is being managed as well as it can be.  
  • Update their asthma action plan so they know what medicines they should be taking and what do if their asthma gets worse again. 

More information can be found: What to do after an asthma attack | Asthma + Lung UK ( 

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