Asthma deaths: One big reason why free-prescriptions really matter in Scotland

In Nursing Standard yesterday this horrific news:

Asthma patients are putting their lives at risk by skipping medication due to the cost, nurses have reported. The trend, revealed in an Asthma UK survey of 636 nurses in England, has prompted the RCN to call for prescription costs for asthma medication to be scrapped, as they have been for diabetes medication. In the survey, 58% of nurses said they had seen patients have an asthma attack or require emergency care as a result of not taking medication because they were unable to afford it.

Once more the contrast with Scotland is stark:

Deaths still increasing at end of 2017
Deaths beginning to decrease from end of 2016.

Asthma deaths are soaring in England and Wales but beginning to fall in Scotland. Clearly prescription costs will play a part but there seems to be another factor – a lack of basic checks in treatment plans including regular tests:

Scots asthma sufferers seem significantly more likely to have a treatment plan in place than those in England. The situation in Labour Wales is very bad with less than a third being treated properly.

3 thoughts on “Asthma deaths: One big reason why free-prescriptions really matter in Scotland

  1. Looking at the Scottish data, the differences between men and women seems marked. And, over the past three years there has been a substantial rise in the data for women, which causes the overall data to obscure the continuing decline in male deaths.

    It would have been useful had the data for England and Wales had given a gender breakdown.

    Why should there be such a difference between men and women and what caused the sharp rise three years ago?


    1. Broadly the difference in the incidence of asthma between men and women appears to be linked in some way to the sex hormones. In children, boys have a higher incidence of asthma compared to girls. Post puberty the incidence flips and females have a higher incidence than males. Post-menopausal the incidence seems to fall in women.

      This is a link to a review article on the subject.

      I don’t know why there was a sharp rise 3 years ago – air pollution?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.