Community pharmacy and the management of people with asthma

Published on: 23rd October 2014 | Updated on: 15th March 2022

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Community Pharmacy England highlights potential for pharmacy to improve asthma care

Community Pharmacy England has published a report outlining the significant contribution that community pharmacies could make to the care of people with asthma to help improve their care and manage their condition and to reduce avoidable complications.

The report pulls together evidence from a number of local pilots and services to show the impact that community pharmacies can make in this area. For example, by helping people to understand and use their inhalers correctly, we know that pharmacies can help people to better manage their conditions, reducing hospital admissions and even deaths caused by asthma.

Building on Community Pharmacy England’s vision published last year, it also outlines how the gradual development of asthma services, building on MURs and the NMS, could enable pharmacies to provide longitudinal care for people with asthma, taking over the key role in leading their management to free up capacity in general practice.

The report is focused in particular on the recently published National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) which highlighted the need for improvements in care to help avoid unnecessary complications and deaths due to asthma. Key findings from the report included that:

  • nearly half of those included in the study had not received any medical help during their last attack;
  • the standard of care received was less than satisfactory in a quarter of those who died; and
  • there was widespread under-use of preventer inhalers and excessive over-reliance on reliever inhalers.

Community Pharmacy England’s report outlines exactly how community pharmacy could help with many of the NRAD’s recommendations for care, and it forms part of our ongoing work to develop community pharmacy services and the sector’s role in the NHS. As part of this we will be hosting a working seminar in the autumn and we have written to the NRAD authors and hope to work collaboratively with them and others to further promote pharmacy’s role in this area.

We hope the report will also be of use to LPCs and others discussing community pharmacy services with commissioners at a local level, providing evidence and ideas for how community pharmacy could help CCGs to better care for people with asthma.

Alastair Buxton, Community Pharmacy England Head of NHS Services, said:

“The NRAD showed once again the need to develop services to better support people with asthma to manage their medicines and conditions. We already have evidence to show that community pharmacy can do exactly that in a way that is convenient for patients and affordable for the NHS and we hope that our report on this topic will help to convince policy-makers and commissioners of that.

Of course what we would like to see is national action to enable community pharmacies across the country to provide the care we describe to asthma patients, and we will continue to make the value of that clear in our ongoing discussions with the NHS and others. However, we recognise the current direction of travel towards local commissioning within the NHS and so we are also looking to work with stakeholders to develop a commissioning framework that could be adopted by CCGs to initiate these sorts of services at a local level. In the meantime, we hope the report may be of use in helping LPCs with any local discussions on community pharmacy asthma care that they have already begun.”

You can read Community Pharmacy England’s report, download a printable pdf, or read more about the NRAD below.


Responding to the National Review of Asthma Deaths – the contribution that community pharmacies can make

National Review of Asthma Deaths

Have you joined the Asthma UK healthcare professionals’ community?

Most community pharmacists will provide NMS and MUR services to people with asthma on a regular basis, but are you keeping up to date with the resources and support that Asthma UK can provide to you and your patients?

Asthma UK offers a range of materials to support healthcare professionals working with people with asthma, including the leaflet ‘Understanding asthma How your pharmacist can help‘. You can sign up to the Asthma UK healthcare professionals’ community free of charge and you will then receive a resource pack and regular updates from Asthma UK.

The resource pack contains an overview of Asthma UK’s resources for healthcare professionals, an A4 poster to display in your pharmacy and a number of credit card sized cards to hand to patients, detailing how they can receive support from Asthma UK. You will also receive a quarterly email newsletter aimed at healthcare professionals.

Sign up to join the Asthma UK healthcare professionals’ community

Community Pharmacy England resources
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