Usher Institute

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Respiratory Health Report: Improving Asthma Outcomes In The UK

BREATHE and Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research members contribute key evidence for APPG report on asthma in the UK

A report launched today from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Respiratory Health (APPG) gives recommendations on how asthma outcomes in the UK can be improved.

Compiled to with include evidence from members of the BREATHE - Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health and the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, the report summarises the results of a six-month APPG inquiry into asthma outcomes in the UK. This inquiry questioned why asthma outcomes are stagnating in the UK. The report recommends policy solutions for the NHS for implementation in order to reverse the upward trend in asthma mortality.

APPG inquiry

As well as covering the role of Government in improving asthma outcomes, the report also highlights the UK figures for asthma and compares the situation in the UK with other European countries. It was agreed that the fragmented approach to asthma care in the UK was the key issue which contributed to the UK being perceived to be lagging behind other countries.

The report on data

The APPG report advocates for improved use of healthcare data in strong terms.

We were convinced by the evidence presented by the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health (BREATHE) on the need for expanded use of available data sets within the NHS and believe that these could be used more widely and to better effect.

There is huge potential for NHS data to be shared and used more efficiently and to ensure information is more widely available. There is a strong argument that data interpretation could be transferred into clinical practice, such as identifying variations in care, prescribing and to monitor any changes that are implemented.

• We recommend that the Government looks more fully into the possibilities of NHS data being made more widely available and allowing them to be interpreted by clinicians to improve asthma outcomes in clinical practice

We commend the commitment of the NHS towards a digital future and the work of NHSX and NHS Digital to date but we believe that the NHS could still develop innovative technologies further. This includes better use of remote consultations, making it easy for people with asthma to attend appointments and self-manage effectively.

• We recommend that the Government adopts a consistent and practical electronic health record for asthma, which can be shared across primary and secondary care, including urgent care. We also recommend that the NHS undertakes a specific assessment of innovative technologies that may be of most help to asthma patients

Excerpt from the APPG on Respiratory Health report

Severe asthma

Improving coding of clinical data was cited as an opportunity to improve quality of data available which in turn will help improve asthma outcomes.

We heard that the use of effective data for asthma could be improved. We discovered that the data currently available on severe asthma patients was insufficient to centrally collate figures on the total number of severe asthma patients. It was clear from the evidence we received that we don’t know the exact number of severe asthma patients, nor the number that are being treated within the NHS, or the length of the waiting list.[...]

• We recommend that an appropriate clinical code needs to be created for severe asthma, to give certainty to patients and clinicians

Excerpt from the APPG on Respiratory Health report

Joined up, multidisciplinary approach

Professor Aziz Sheikh, OBE (BREATHE and Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research Director) and  Monica Fletcher OBE (Partnerships and Sustainability Lead for BREATHE, and Advocacy Lead for the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research) both spoke at the launch event alongside Jim Shannon MP (Chair of the APPG) and Professor Andrew Menzies-Gow (National Clinical Director for Respiratory Disease).

They said the following, of their hopes for the potential for improvement that this report could offer to future asthma care in the UK.

We hope that the launch of this important report signals the beginning of change for people with asthma in the UK. If all the recommendations are acted upon, we will see far-more connected primary, secondary and emergency care networks, a unified approach to asthma guidance and improved patient diagnosis and monitoring, which will translate into substantial improvements in asthma outcomes  across the country.

Professor Aziz SheikhBREATHE / Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research Director


The recommendations included in this report are the beginnings of a joined-up, multidisciplinary approach, which will mean nation-wide changes in how asthma is diagnosed, treated and managed, ensuring all people with asthma receive basic asthma care by appropriately trained healthcare professionals. The ultimate goal from this report are improved asthma outcomes in the UK, and these recommendations will help us to move towards this.

Monica Fletcher OBEBREATHE Partnerships and Sustainability Lead and Asthma UK Centre for Applied research Advocacy Lead

Read the full report