The Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have today responded to the publication by Asthma UK of Patient safety failures in asthma care: the scale of unsafe prescribing in the UK.
The main findings raise concerns about the number of potentially dangerous prescribing errors for people with asthma, and demonstrate the need for up to date and expert training for all those who treat people with asthma.
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN said:
“It is worrying that many people with asthma are still being treated in outdated and potentially very dangerous ways.
“Because asthma is relatively common, many people do overlook the seriousness of the condition, and can be unaware of available effective preventative treatments.
“Nurses and pharmacists teach inhaler technique and should receive training in it to ensure that people are supported to take their medications effectively.
“The role of specialist nurses is vital in supporting better patient and professional education, but the number of specialist nursing posts that have been eroded in recent years is deeply concerning.
“The NHS as a whole needs to ensure that staff have the opportunity to update their skills and knowledge regularly, and should have time to carry out proper reviews of the treatment for all their patients.”
Matthew Hodson, Chair, Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, said:
“This report sadly highlights continuing concerns, a year on from the national review, that patients with asthma may not always be receiving the best evidence based care in terms of the drugs they are prescribed and how they are used.
“Correct training is crucial and should encompass the correct diagnosis, the understanding of asthma guidelines in practice, and the best evidence for long term treatment.
“Respiratory nurses have a role to support this but so much of asthma care is undertaken in primary care that all staff have a responsibility to ensure evidence-based care is followed and all employers should ensure that staff can access asthma training.”