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Asthma care to be subject of national clinical review

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Asthma, epilepsy and mental health are among the key disease areas identified as priorities to undergo a national performance review in England.

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) has announced that NHS England will conduct national clinical audits into four conditions – asthma, psychosis, anxiety and depression, and epilepsy.

There will also be a feasibility study on the prevention of venous thromboembolism, which will inform a decision on whether it should proceed to a full national audit.

Our research shows that eight out of 10 people with asthma do not receive care that meets basic clinical standards”

Kay Boycott  

HQIP decided on the conditions that should be prioritised for audit at a meeting on 30 March. As a result, they have been “ratified for subsequent development and commissioning”.

The National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme is a set of national clinical audits, registries and outcome review programmes, which measure healthcare practice on specific conditions against accepted standards.

Overseen by HQIP, the national audits provide healthcare providers with benchmarked reports on their performance, with the aim of improving the care provided.

Kay Boycott, chief executive of the charity Asthma UK, described the announcement as an “important step towards improving care” for asthma patients.

She said: “Our success in the future relies on the findings from this audit being used to improve asthma care for millions of people, to stop asthma attacks and end needless asthma deaths.

“As the majority of asthma care takes place at the primary level, the audit must be mandatory for all GP practices and primary healthcare providers, so that we can focus resources exactly where they are needed,” she added.

She added that such an audit had been a key recommendation of the National Review of Asthma Deaths, published in May 2014, which found that two thirds of deaths are preventable with good basic care.

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