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London asthma standards for children and young people

These standards bring together the aspirations for London, the NICE Asthma standards, British Thoracic Society guidelines and a number of other key resources into one document.

They were developed by the London Strategic Clinical Network for Children and Young People’s Asthma Pathway Group, with a review by members of the Strategic Clinical Leadership Group and the Commissioning Advisory Group, National Paediatric Asthma Group, Royal College of Physicians, British Thoracic Society, Royal College of Anaesthetists, and Asthma UK. This revision has been undertaken by Healthy London Partnership to incorporate the latest standards.

“No child should be dying of asthma but twelve children are losing their lives as a result of asthma attacks every year in London.” – Dr David Finch, GP Clinical Lead for the Asthma Leadership Group for Healthy London Partnership.

Asthma is the most common long term medical condition in children. It is a long-term inflammatory condition that affects the airways. The usual symptoms include wheeze, difficulty in breathing, chest tightness and coughing, particularly at night or in the early hours. Its severity varies from mild, moderate to severe and can cause physical and psychological distress affecting quality of life. It cannot be cured, but with appropriate management quality of life can be improved.

The Healthy London Partnership Asthma Leadership Group were asked by the Commissioning Advisory Group to develop a set of standards for care of children and young people with asthma and pre-school/viral induced wheeze (PSW) to complement the existing London Quality Standards, Primary Care Commissioning Framework and Children and Young People’s Acute Care Standards. Currently there are many existing documents and guidance around asthma but despite this, children in London are still dying of acute asthma attacks and the basic standards are not being carried out. This document is not another set of guidelines but aims to bring together some of the principles from all the other documents to aid the implementation of them and help drive up care for children with asthma or acute viral induced wheeze in London. It should improve diagnosis, management, and continuity of care, prescribing, monitoring and education across London.

Development of the standards was informed through an extensive literature review and wide engagement that included primary and secondary care clinicians, managers, and commissioners from across London, views from professional bodies, and voluntary sector organisations. They have been endorsed by the Strategic Clinical Leadership Group, Commissioning Advisory Group and the Royal College of Physicians.

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