HEALTH AND CARE: GPs take action to support asthma sufferers

World Asthma Day aims to raise awareness, care and support for those affected by asthma
World Asthma Day aims to raise awareness, care and support for those affected by asthma

This week, we wanted to talk about a common condition that affects about 1 in 11 children across Coastal West Sussex – asthma.

On Tuesday GPs and health professionals across the area are supporting World Asthma Day and using the opportunity to share with young people and their families how they can help local people to manage their condition.

Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs which causes breathing problems.

Symptoms of asthma include breathlessness, coughing, persistent wheezing and a feeling of tightness in the chest.

These symptoms vary in frequency and severity, and in young people can lead to reduced school attendance, poor sleep and prevent a child or young person from normal exercise.

While asthma cannot be cured, the symptoms can be controlled enabling people with asthma to live full lives.

The aim of World Asthma Day is to raise awareness, care and support for those affected by asthma.

All week health professionals in Coastal West Sussex are working to make sure that every child and young person with asthma has their own tailored action plan.

‘Personalised Asthma Action Plans’, which detail all aspects of a patient’s asthma treatment, can support young people and their families to have better control over their condition and know how to manage their symptoms.

Next week there will be stands at Worthing Hospital and in local practices, and families will be encouraged to speak to their child’s GP if they don’t have an action plan in place.

Dr Tim Fooks, Pulborough GP and clinical lead for children and young people’s commissioning at NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is very important that we do everything we can to keep children and young people with asthma safe and healthy. A key part of this is making sure that their condition is as well-controlled as possible.

“Although it takes an extra minute or two to complete the plan, there is now very strong evidence that having one in place will prove of benefit for both patient and their parents.

“GP and their practices nurses are experts at managing asthma and every practice in West Sussex has been sent packs of information and asthma action plans, which they can distribute to their patients with asthma.

“If you are a young person with asthma but you do not yet have a plan that has been personalised for your specific needs, please ask your GP practice to help you to develop one.”

Find out more about asthma and World Asthma Day online: www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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