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Health secretary calls for focus on asthma care

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The NHS and schools must improve their management of childhood asthma to help children lead healthier lives, according to health secretary Alan Johnson.

He said that the government wanted to bring local health trusts and schools together ‘to make sure that child asthma sufferers in every part of the country get help in managing their symptoms, so they can lead full, active lives’.

Chief executive of Asthma UK Neil Churchill added: ‘We need national standards for asthma to ensure that high-quality asthma services are available for all, and guidelines for children are a step in the right direction.’

The government today also published the report Tackling Health Inequalities: 10 Years on, which shows that men in disadvantaged ‘spearhead’ areas are now expected to live three years longer than they were 10 years ago and women are expected to live more than two years longer.

However, the government has said that health inequalities remain and has commissioned Professor Sir Michael Marmot to chair an independent review of health inequalities beyond 2010.

‘Our ambition remains as strong as ever despite economic circumstances. Ignoring the health inequality gap is not an option,’ Mr Johnson said.

Sir Michael added that health inequalities were ‘deep seated’ in society and that improvements would ‘inevitably’ take time.

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