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Asthma and back pain 'lost out in policy'

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NHS policy has been unjustly neglecting conditions including asthma and back pain, analysis for the Department of Health has found.

The NHS national quality board has analysed dozens of health topics to help decide which ones should be the top priorities for improvement, based on clinical evidence. In future it plans to consult the health service, expert groups and specialists to decide what is important.

The analysis shows asthma and back pain should be priorities – because they have a big impact on health and there is good evidence care can be improved – but have so far not been backed with new funding, standards and guidance.

Joint national clinical director for respiratory disease Robert Winter, who was appointed in December, said asthma was starting to get more attention alongside work on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A national COPD strategy was published in February and is likely to lead to extended roles for practice nurses.

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