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Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what targets he has set for the take up of written personal action plans for people with asthma; [111428](2) what efforts he has made to extend the use of written personal action plans for people with asthma in each of the last two years; [111429](3) what assessment he has made of the impact of personal action plans for people with asthma in respect of

(a) asthma symptoms, (b) working days lost, (c) night time waking, (d) outpatient hospital visits, (e) in-patient hospital visits, (f) emergency events, (g) medicine dependency, (h) prescription costs and (i) other measures. [111430]

The new British Thoracic Society asthma guidelines do recommend written asthma action plans for all patients, particularly those admitted to hospital. We do not collect information centrally on the specific impact of personal action plans, which are not necessarily the same as written asthma action plans.However, improved management of asthma patients may have helped to contribute to the reduction of hospital admissions for asthma sufferers. The hospital episode statistics data in the table shows hospital admissions between 1997–2002 where asthma was the primary diagnosis.

As part of the current chronic disease management programme, general practitioners are required to prepare an individual management plan with the patient and ensure there are regular reviews. 93 per cent. of GPs participate. Other requirements include ensuring that all newly diagnosed patients with asthma get appropriate education and advice and ensuring that all patients get continuing education including supervision of inhaler technique if necessary.