Asthma Outcomes — [Steve McCabe in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:40 am on 7th December 2021.

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Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 10:40 am, 7th December 2021

I always give way to the hon. Lady, occasionally with a little trepidation, because I know she will ask a measured and difficult question. That is a very important question. During the pandemic, specialist respiratory services for severe asthma have continued to run, but she asked a specific question about biologics, a subject raised by several colleagues. Prescription and access to biologics is co-ordinated through severe asthma centre multidisciplinary teams. They should ensure all treatments, conditions and options are considered when prescribing. I am perhaps less clear about that than she might want, because I would caveat that by saying it would be a clinical judgment.

We do recognise the value of biologics. That goes to what the hon. Member for Strangford said: all treatments and options should be considered by clinicians on an individual, case-by-case basis, rather than what may have happened in the past, which was a presumption in favour of inhalers as a way of managing the condition rather than treating it or getting to the root causes. Although not eliminating the condition, that could deliver the improvements that make a difference based on an individual’s condition.