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Asthma: Health Services

Volume 504: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken to ensure that all asthma patients have personal asthma action plans. (313531)

The Department has a commitment to ensure the national health service offers everyone with a long-term condition a care plan by the end of 2010. The NHS Next Stage Review ‘High Quality Care for All’ re-states this commitment. The Department has provided a range of support for implementing personalised care plans, including: publishing guidance for NHS commissioners on what care planning and self-care is (January 2009); support for NHS work force, through publishing an information booklet (April 2009); and publication of a Primary Care Service Specification (November 2009) to support commissioning from primary care providers.

The Department is currently preparing good practice guidelines for children and adults with asthma that will reinforce the value of personal asthma action plans and continue to encourage clinicians to ensure that every patient has one tailored to their needs. This is entirely consistent with the recommendation that all patients with long-term conditions should have a personalised care plan by the end of 2010.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what preparations his Department has made for managing the symptoms of asthma patients who contract (a) swine influenza and (b) seasonal influenza during the winter. (313532)

Every year people of all ages, including those with asthma, are eligible for vaccination against seasonal influenza, and can have this at their general practitioner's (GP's) surgery. This year all people with asthma should also have been contacted by their GP's surgery in order to receive a vaccination against swine influenza. This measure was introduced to ensure that people with asthma were protected from influenza of both kinds.

GPs were advised by the Royal College of General Practitioners that people with asthma who contracted swine influenza may have additional respiratory difficulties. GPs were advised to follow the clinical guidelines for management of asthma in the event that a patient's asthma control worsened as a result of contracting swine influenza, in addition to prescribing antiviral therapy such as Tamiflu in order to shorten the course of swine influenza.