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Focus on England's child asthma care

Fri May 8th, 2009

More action is needed on asthma treatment for children, the British health secretary said yesterday.

Alan Johnson, the secretary of state for health has called on local NHS services and schools to step up the management of childhood asthma, to help children "lead full and healthy lives".

A new report published yesterday (May 7), Tackling Health Inequalities: 10 Years On, takes a look at progress in asthma services. Asthma affects 1.1 million children in England, and is one of the main causes of hospitalisation.

Over the last ten years, disadvantaged groups have benefited from significant improvements in health although health inequalities remain, the report found.

"We are bringing local health trusts and schools together to make sure that child asthma sufferers in every part of the country get help in managing their symptoms, so they can lead full and active lives," said Mr Johnson.

"Our ambition remains as strong as ever despite economic circumstances. Ignoring the health inequality gap is not an option."

He added that the government is investigating how schools and early years settings can better support children with long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

A Best Practice Guide for Children's Asthma is also being developed, he said, which will improve children's access to high quality NHS services close to home and specialist expertise when needed.

Neil Churchill of Asthma UK commented: "This is as far as I have heard a minister go in acknowledging that we need to improve services for people with asthma. It's not an acceptance of our case for national standards, but it is progress and a good agenda to be working on."

Tags: UK News | Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Respiratory

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