Asthma Outcomes — [Steve McCabe in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 7th December 2021.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 9:30 am, 7th December 2021

I thank my hon. Friend and colleague for that point. He is right that there many charities and volunteers, as well as many people who have the disease. A great number of people have expertise, interest and keenness to help and assist them. COPD is one of the most debilitating diseases that I have ever seen. I never realised just how many people in my constituency suffer from COPD, but there seem to be a large number, some of whom are in the advanced stages of a deterioration in health. I have a very good friend who is an artist; we have been friends for many years. He is interested in rural and country sports, as I am, which is where our friendship came from. Today, he is completely dependent on oxygen 24/7 and rarely leaves the house. For a man who was active and fit, COPD has changed his life dramatically.

Some 65% of people with asthma do not receive a yearly review—I am keen for the Minister to respond to that—despite recommendations by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence that they should. I respectfully ask the Minister, if they are not getting a review, why not? Asthma has an impact on every patient’s quality of life. A recent pilot study for Asthma UK showed that the impact can be considerable: 68% said asthma attacks hold them back from work in school; 71% said severe asthma affects their social life; 54% said it holds them back from going on holiday; and 66% said severe asthma has made them or their child anxious. When the child is anxious, the parent is anxious—we all worry about what happens. The study also found 55% said having severe asthma has made them or their child depressed. The issue of depression and mental health has come up during the difficulties we have had with covid over the past year and a half.

Asthma deaths in the UK have increased by one third over the last decade. Three people in the UK die from asthma every day, which is among the highest in Europe, yet studies show that more than two out of three asthma deaths could be prevented. Three people die every day and if we had the right things in place, we could save two of those three lives every day in the UK. I put that challenge to the Minister, who I hope will give us the confident and positive reply that we would like to see.