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Asthma

Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to improve services for people with asthma; and if he will make a statement; [102663](2) what the average amount spent in 2002–03 on asthma care by primary care trusts in

(a) the north-west region and (b) England is. [102661]

That information is not held centrally. However we estimate that the net ingredient cost of prescriptions dispensed in the community for the treatment of asthma, in England for 2001–02 is 574 million. Patients with asthma are able to access the full range of National Health Service support services in both primary and secondary care settings.People with asthma will benefit from the emerging expert patients programme which will, via the NHS, provide training in self-management skills for people with long term chronic conditions. We have now commenced on a fourth wave pilot phase for the remaining selected primary care trusts, with activity taking place on a generic basis.The previous pilots have been well received by the course participants.The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has produced guidance on asthma inhalers for children. In September 2000 it issued guidance on the use of inhalers for children under five. NICE also published guidance on inhaler devices for older children, age range five to 15, on 11 April 2002.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that people with asthma have their inhaling technique monitored on a regular basis; and if he will make a statement. [106803]

[holding answer 3 Apri12003]: We do not have specific plans to ensure that inhaling techniques are monitored on a regular basis. However the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) produced guidance on inhaler devices for older children (age range five to 15) on 11 April 2002, which mentions the importance of considering the monitoring of effective inhaler techniques. Additionally on 8 September 2000 NICE issued guidance on the use of inhalers for children under five. This guidance states that general practitioners/community health carers have an essential role in providing support and guidance to aid the management of a child's condition, and advice on general management may result in additional improvements in clinical effectiveness.Additionally people with asthma will benefit from the emerging expert patients programme which will. via the national health service, provide training in self-management skills for people with long term chronic conditions.Expert groups such as the British Thoracic Society have also developed clinical guidelines for the management of asthma.A new general medical services contract agreement was launched on Friday 21 February 2003, which if accepted by the profession, will lead to an unprecedented level of new investment in general practice to deliver a wider range of high quality services with better clinical outcomes for all patients.