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Fears over lack of asthma awareness

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A charity has called for the NHS to adopt a “zero tolerance” approach to asthma deaths as a survey highlights a lack of awareness over the condition.

On World Asthma Day, a poll of more than 2,200 people has shown a majority of the public (88%) would not feel confident that they knew what to do if a child suffered an asthma attack.

Neil Churchill, chief executive of Asthma UK, called for all members of the public to know how to help someone suffering an asthma attack and recognise the symptoms.

He said: “The NHS needs to take a zero tolerance approach to asthma deaths - parents who have lost children to asthma have told us they feel that a more proactive approach from health professionals might have made a crucial difference.”

The call follows the death of 11-year-old Sam Linton in Stockport. Earlier this year, an inquest rued that neglect at Offerton High School “significantly contributed” to his death.

Five members of staff were suspended after the boy was left in a corridor struggling to breathe following an asthma attack.

The inquest heard that no member of staff called the emergency services and he later died.

Some 1.1 million under-15s suffer from Asthma in the UK, with the equivalent of a large classroom of children dying from the condition every year.

A survey among 1,600 teachers across England in February 2009 also found that three-quarters did not feel confident of knowing what to do.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • SamE

    I Think it is truly sad that it takes a childs death for people to remember that asthma is a serious condition, REALLY sad! I didn't even know today was WORLD asthma day today, and my son has asthma! Asthma needs a higher profile NOW!!!

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