According to a new research published in the Journal of Asthma, the majority of high-risk asthma patients in the UK do not receive referral for specialist care, as recommended by national guidelines.
Researchers identified high-risk asthma patients managed in primary care through UK electronic health care records and measured referrals to respiratory clinics in secondary care. High-risk patients included those hospitalised for asthma, ≥three courses of oral corticosteroids (OCS) in a year, incident high-dose inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and inclusion of a fourth asthma drug in the maintenance regimen. Factors associated with receiving a referral were assessed.
A low proportion of all risk groups received referral to secondary care (
Commenting on the findings, the authors said: "This is of great concern as asthma is one of the most common diseases in the UK and has one of the highest mortality rates in Europe. The lack of referrals needs to be addressed urgently if we are to try to prevent further avoidable asthma deaths."