BOLTON health chiefs say they are “saddened” by the findings of a damning report into asthma deaths.
Experts identified “major avoidable factors” in two thirds of asthma deaths due to patients receiving inadequate information, education and advice on managing their condition.
Meanwhile medical staff are failing to spot key signs which point to patients not managing their conditions well.
These factors are leading to a large number of deaths which could otherwise have been prevented, the report says.
In the UK, three people die from asthma every day, and every 10 seconds someone suffers from a potentially life-threatening attack.
Experts from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) examined 195 asthma deaths, including those of 28 children.
They identified at least one “major potential avoidable factor” in 67 per cent of the cases.
Dr Stephen Liversedge, clinical director for primary care and health improvement at NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The conclusions of this report are saddening.
“The severity of asthma symptoms varies from person to person, but it can be controlled well in most people most of the time.
"In our borough, NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group has introduced a best care standard for asthma in all practices.
“This includes care plans and inhaler techniques, as well as an assessment of how well a patient’s asthma is controlled.
“I strongly urge everyone with asthma to follow the guidance of a GP or practice team and always ask if they are unsure of what they should be doing.”
The review found that many of the patients who died had excessively used their reliever inhalers in the months running up to their deaths — indicating that they were not managing their disease well.
GP Dr Mark Levy, the RCP’s clinical lead for the report, added: “It is very sad that people are not aware that asthma can kill.
“Doctors, patients and their families failed to recognise life-threatening danger signs of asthma.”