UK’s first ‘asthma bus’ set to provide vital resource to pressured NHS respiratory services as asthma sufferers admit to putting off care during pandemic
- More than 1 in 20 (6.7%) asthma sufferers delayed emergency care during the pandemic and over a quarter (27.5%) have avoided receiving treatment from their GP
- The PRECISION Asthma Mobile Clinic officially opens today [Wednesday 6th October] at Chorley House, based on Lancashire Enterprise Business Park in Leyland
- Through partnering with the local NHS, the bus will accelerate the delivery of asthma care appointments in the region
- It will provide 10 weeks of support across Central Lancashire before travelling around UK
- Between 350-400 extra appointments are expected to be conducted during its visit
An ‘asthma bus’ officially opened today at Chorley House, based on Lancashire Enterprise Business Park in Leyland, as it begins its journey around the UK aiming to offer vitally needed support to pressured NHS respiratory services. The NHS is now accelerating respiratory appointments, as part of a wider drive to speed up the delivery of operations and other non-urgent services, following disruptions to services as a result of the pandemic
The issue of asthma needs attention across the UK. It is estimated that someone with asthma suffers an attack every ten seconds and, on average, three people die from an asthma attack every day. Levels of care have been clearly impacted by the pandemic with a report by Asthma UK finding that more than 1 in 20 asthma patients admit to delaying care during the pandemic, and over a quarter avoided receiving treatment from their GP. It is estimated that approximately 3.53 million of the 5.4 million people diagnosed with asthma in the UK are not receiving a ‘basic level of care’.1
Across NHS Central Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) services are looking to support patients who may need urgent attention:
- Around 6% people living in the NHS Central Lancashire CCGs area (inclusive of NHS Chorley & South Ribble CCG and NHS Greater Preston CCG) suffer from asthma
- An average of 16 people per 100,000 registered asthma patients die from asthma across the NHS Central Lancashire CCGs4
- All clinical commissioning groups across the Lancashire-12 (the 12 local authorities that fall within the Lancashire County Council administrative boundary) area have a significantly higher level of asthma prevalence compared to the national average across England
- In the period 2017-2019, there were 1,492 deaths of people aged under-75 in the Lancashire-12 area related to respiratory disease, significantly higher than the national average across England
In a partnership between Central Lancashire CCGs, inclusive of both NHS Chorley & South Ribble CCG and NHS Greater Preston CCG, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, PRECISION/AstraZeneca and the North West Innovation Agency, the PRECISION Asthma Mobile Clinic will assist the team at The Airways Asthma Clinic to people with asthma get the care they need. Specialist nurses will work to identify and invite eligible patients to attend the Clinic for testing and will liaise with their GPs to formulate an action plan for their care. Three rooms on PRECISION Asthma Mobile Clinic will also be offered to local Primary Care Networks to support the diagnosis of respiratory conditions through the restarting of spirometry testing, also delivered at the Clinic. Training and education packages for Primary Care will also be made available as well as resources to support patients with self-management of the condition.
It will spend 10 weeks in the region, starting at Chorley House, based on Lancashire Enterprise Business Park in Leyland today, before moving in 4-weeks to Preston Healthport until the 17th December. It is anticipated that the Clinic will allow for around 350-400 extra appointments to be conducted during its stay.
Commenting on the PRECISION Asthma Mobile Clinic’s arrival, Dr Sumantra Mukerji, local GP and CCG Chair said: “We are delighted to welcome the PRECISION Asthma Mobile Clinic to central Lancashire. Hosting the unit, the first of its kind in the U.K, marks our commitment to do more to diagnose and manage respiratory problems earlier, as set out in the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan. Following the outbreak of the global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, it is more important than ever for us to work together in new and innovate ways. We anticipate the positive impact that this additional resource will have for those suffering with severe asthma in our communities, potentially avoiding unnecessary urgent admissions and reducing the incidence of deaths, whilst also reducing pressures within the wider healthcare system. We are proud to be working in partnership with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, PRECISION AstraZeneca and the North West Innovations Agency to deliver this service. So if you are invited, please do attend – the NHS is here to give you the care you need”
Dr Aashish Vyas, from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The PRECISION Asthma Mobile Clinic is an innovative approach between the Lancashire and South Cumbria’s Tertiary severe asthma service, the NHS innovation agency and primary care teams to allow earlier access to care for the high vulnerability asthma patients in our region to the best and most effective treatments for their asthma. The pilot project aims to reduce severity of asthma in a high risk population who regularly have exacerbations leading to repeated prescriptions of oral steroid tablets, visits to hospital emergency departments and even hospital admissions. Some of these patients are admitted to intensive care units with life threatening asthma. New treatments are now available to high risk patients to improve their quality of life, reduce the frequency and severity of their exacerbations. The pilot aims to provide care closer to home for our patients by using mobile units which can be located close to high density patient populations with an expert team undertaking the assessments and feeding back the results to the primary care teams, the specialist centre and most importantly to the patients with plan for ongoing care to for that individual.”
Tom Keith-Roach, Country President, AstraZeneca UK said: “We’re proud to assist in the recovery of essential NHS services after the disruption caused by the pandemic. The PRECISION Asthma Mobile Clinic provides essential capacity and specialist service capability to fast-track diagnosis and provide dedicated care for patients with severe asthma. Starting in Lancashire we hope to be able to reduce patient waiting lists and improve access to the treatment that patients suffering from this devastating disease deserve”.
More information about asthma can be accessed via asthmalife.info, a series of interviews, documentaries and information created and funded by AstraZeneca UK.
If you are worried about your asthma, or feel your symptoms are not controlled, please contact your GP, pharmacist or healthcare professional who will be able to advise you.
If you need urgent medical advice but are unsure of where to go, visit NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 to be directed to the most appropriate care.
If you are experiencing an asthma attack and your reliever inhaler isn’t working, or you need emergency assistance, dial 999 for an ambulance immediately.
-Notes to editors-
About the PRECISION Asthma Mobile Clinic:
The unit is provided by AstraZeneca in partnership with the NHS, to offer much-needed dedicated resource to ensure people with asthma get the care they need.
Services on offer:
- Review and recording of patient’s history based upon the specific instructions of the clinician(s)
- Checking adherence to medication for asthma
- Diagnosis and assessment of the level of a patient’s uncontrolled asthma
- Conducting tests that will support the MDT in their assessment of appropriate treatment for patients
- Tests that are routinely carried out during biologic administration appointments
- Training on drug administration to those patients prescribed biologics that can be self-administered. Alternatively, a carer may be trained
- Homecare administration/management support to enrol biologic patients onto any severe asthma homecare service
- Administration of biologics either via subcutaneous injection or intravenous infusion
Media contact details:
- 4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12)
- Every 10 seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK
- On average, three people die from an asthma attack in the UK every day
- Around 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
- The NHS spends around £1 billion per year treating and caring for people with asthma
- In 2016/17 (the most recent data available) there were 77,124 admissions to hospital for asthma in the UK
- In 2017 (the most recent data available) 1,484 people in the UK died from an asthma attack in the UK
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism and Respiratory. The Company also is selectively active in the areas of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infection. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. AstraZeneca operates in five different locations in the UK, where around 8,300 employees work in research and development, manufacturing, supply, sales and marketing. We supply 40 different medicines. The UK is also an important location for AstraZeneca’s clinical trials; in 2018, we undertook 201 trials in the UK, involving 376 centres and over 7,000 patients. For more information, please visit www.astrazeneca.co.uk
 Asthma UK. Asthma Care in a Crisis: Annual asthma survey 2020. Available at: https://www.asthma.org.uk/7318608a/contentassets/3fd2bcc5be6a41f68b3280969eedbec3/aas-2020_2a-1.pdf (Accessed September 2021)
 NHS. Asthma attacks. 2018. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/asthma-attack/ (Accessed September 2021)
 Asthma UK. Asthma facts and statistics. Available at: https://www.asthma.org.uk/about/media/facts-and-statistics/ (Accessed September 2021)
 Asthma prevalence – QoF-NHS Digital: QOF prevalence (all ages) 2018-19. The percentage of patients with asthma, excluding those who have been prescribed no asthma-related drugs in the previous twelve months, as recorded on practice disease registers from all registered patients.
 Public Health England. Public Health Profiles – Asthma: QOF prevalence (all ages). Available at: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/search/asthma%20prevalence (Accessed September 2021)
 Lancashire County Council. Respiratory Diseases. 2021. Available at: https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/lancashire-insight/health-and-care/health/long-term-conditions/respiratory-disease/ (accessed September 2021)