Twelve children and young people die from asthma each year in London
A new asthma toolkit has been launched in Lewisham to support health professionals, schools, parents and care to provide the best care for children and young people with the condition in London.
The online asthma toolkit includes a specific section for parents and carers of children and young people with asthma, which explains what families should expect from asthma care in London, and provides self-care advice and links to further resources.
Three children in every classroom in Lewisham have asthma – more than 200,000 children and young people in total across London – with twelve children and young people dying as a result of asthma attacks each year in the capital.
The asthma toolkit has been developed by Healthy London Partnership, a partnership between all 32 London Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), including Lewisham CCG, and NHS England (London region).
Dr Marc Rowland, Lewisham CCG Chair said as one of the partners in the Healthy London Partnership, Lewisham CCG was keen to encourage use of the toolkit by health professionals, teachers, school nurses and parents and carers.
"Asthma can have a major impact on a child's life, time spent off school can affect their learning while time spent in hospital can be distressing to both children and their families," he said. "The symptoms can be very upsetting for children and their families and parents also often have to take time off from work if their child's asthma gets worse.
"Asthma can also be deadly so although it is the most common childhood illness it isn't trivial and needs to be taken seriously.
"Small changes to asthma care can make a big difference and the new asthma toolkit aims to support all those who care for children with asthma to make the changes that can improve care."
Less than 52 per cent of children and young people with asthma in London have an asthma management plan, even though a child with a plan is four times less likely to be admitted to hospital. There are a high rate of admissions to hospital of children and young people as a result of asthma – of which 70% are preventable.
Schools also have a major role to play in supporting children with asthma and the toolkit aims to help schools, teachers and school nurses to highlight concerns about a child and answer any questions they may have about administering emergency medicine.
The asthma toolkit can be found at www.myhealthlondon.co.uk/healthy-london/children-and-young-people/asthmatoolkit.