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#AskAboutAsthma campaign launches to improve lives for asthma sufferers

9th September 2019

For the third year running, Healthy London Partnership and NHS England (London region), supported by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, are running a campaign #AskAboutAsthma from the 16-22 September, to help improve the lives of those living with asthma in the capital.

An estimated 200,000 people in the UK have severe asthma, this is a debilitating form of the condition that doesn’t respond to usual treatments and can cause people to be in and out of hospital.

1 in 10 children and young people in London have asthma but less than half of these have an asthma management plan or know how to use their inhaler correctly.

The campaign, which is launching to coincide with children and young people returning to school and the highest peak of hospital admissions for asthma, aims to encourage all children and young people to ask for advice to help them manage their asthma effectively.

This includes;

Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS London Region Medical Director, said:

“This past year, the NHS in London has worked with children, young people, their families, schools and local councils to improve asthma care. This includes innovations such as supplying primary and secondary schools with emergency asthma school bags, group consultations, and work with councils and the Mayor of London on air pollution. Additionally, partnership working with local Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships has led to the creation of networks across London in which patients, professionals and services come together to bring about improvement.

“As a paediatrician and Medical Director for London, I am delighted that the #AskAboutAsthma campaign will return in September for a third year. The campaign will grow and reinforce the movement of organisations and people who are focussed on implementing the simple steps everyone can take to consistently provide excellent asthma care to children and young people and help them live healthier, more active lives.”

Dr Andy Whittamore, in-house GP at Asthma UK, said;

“We welcome the #AskAboutAsthma campaign, especially as it comes at a time when many children going back to school will be at a higher risk of having an asthma attack. We hope the campaign will give more people with asthma the confidence to ask for the care they are entitled to as well as get advice on how they can stay well at this particularly risky time. We’d encourage everyone with asthma to use a written asthma action plan as it means they are four times less likely to be admitted to hospital and for people to check out www.asthma.org.uk/backtoschool for top tips on how to stay on top of their symptoms.”

This year the #AskAboutAsthma campaign is focusing on the message of ‘One Thing LDN’ – asking Londoners what they have done, will do or would like to see happen to improve asthma care or air quality for children and young people in London. Let us know your #OneThingLDN message by using #OneThingLDN and #AskAboutAsthma. For more information, visit www.healthylondon.org/our-work/children-young-people/asthma/onething

As part of the #AskAboutAsthma campaign, we are also asking all NHS organisations, businesses and residents in London to take simple steps to improve air quality.

This includes;

  • Encouraging more exercise by walking or cycling to work or school
  • To use public transport to improve air pollution and reduce car emissions
  • Try car-pooling and turning off engines when idle
  • To use non/less toxic materials in homes and offices
  • To have greenery in and around homes and offices.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“As someone who developed asthma as an adult, I know from personal experience the damage that London’s toxic air is doing to our health. We all need to play a part in improving our air quality, and I’m doing everything in my power to clean up our filthy air and protect Londoners, particularly children, older people and those with respiratory conditions. That’s why I’m proud to support this campaign to encourage young Londoners to #AskAboutAsthma and get the help they need to lead a happy and healthy life.”

The Mayor of London also has plans for London’s biggest ever Car Free Day celebrations on Sunday 22 September.

Hundreds of activities will take place across more than 20km of closed streets in Central London – the equivalent of nearly 200 football pitches in length – including Tower Bridge (closed to all traffic), London Bridge (buses only) and much of the City of London. Twenty-three boroughs are also organising events including working with residents to create local ‘Play Streets’ – safe spaces where children can play and communities get together. For more information on Car Free Day visit www.london.gov.uk/reimagine

Dr Jacqueline Cornish OBE, NHS National Clinical Director, Children and Young People and Transition to Adulthood, said:

“Asthma is a major, common and potentially life-threatening condition for children, and this campaign will help raise awareness of simple steps that young people and parents can take to stay healthy.

“The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a package of measures to improve asthma care, including better diagnosis, improved medicine reviews and stronger guidance for local health services to better support families, and the #AskAboutAsthma campaign can boost children’s wellbeing not just through better health but by helping more young people perform at their peak in school.”

Notes to editors:

Healthy London Partnership formed in April 2015. It has been working across health and social care, and with the Greater London Authority, Public Health England, NHS England, London’s councils, clinical commissioning groups, and Health Education England. We have united to amplify the efforts of a growing community of people and organisations that believe it is possible to achieve a healthier, more liveable global city by 2020.

Healthy London Partnership has developed a London Asthma Toolkit to support healthcare organisations and professionals to implement the London asthma standards for children and young people.

The NHS has produced a toolkit NHS Trusts: Air pollution reduction toolkit. This describes simple and free changes NHS organisations can make to reduce their contribution to London’s air pollution.

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