Parents of children with asthma urged to obtain new care plan

Local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are urging parents of children and young people with asthma in the Bradford district to obtain an individual care plan for their child. These are proven to make hospital admissions for asthma attacks four times less likely.

Developed in partnership with the three local CCGs: Bradford City CCG, Bradford Districts CCG and Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, the initiative has launched this month and is being led by GP surgeries and hospitals throughout the district. They are equipped with electronic or paper versions of the plans, which will be reviewed, updated and given out every time a child visits the doctor about their asthma.

The plans provide important information about a child’s inhalers and other medication, and how and when they should be used. They also give advice on what to do in response to symptoms of differing levels of severity. Each child can have numerous copies for parents, teachers, child minders, relatives and other carers, so all adults who supervise the child are aware of their condition and can use the plan to help them manage it.

The initiative has come in response to high levels of hospital admissions for asthma in the district and as a result of focus groups with patients and feedback from doctors, nurses and other health and social care professionals.

Clinical specialty lead for children and young people, Dr Louise Clarke, said:
“Young people and parents of children with asthma need consistent, clear messages from health professionals about managing their asthma. These plans are designed to help deliver this, and also to help young people and their families manage their asthma well so that it doesn’t stop them from doing their normal activities. Parents and young people who have received the management plans so far have found them simple and easy to follow.

“Research by national asthma charity Asthma UK has found that children and young people with an asthma management plan are four times less likely to be admitted to hospital. Using a plan also improves the quality of life for the child, resulting in less days missed from school and he or she being able to take part in sport and school activities.”

George McQueen, director (access and inclusion) at Bradford District Metropolitan Council, believes the plans will be of great help to teachers:
“The management plans mean that teachers have clear instructions about what to do to manage each child’s asthma when they are unwell. They will improve safety for children with asthma in schools as well as other environments.”

Twelve-year-old Rhys Hood from Buttershaw has recently started using the plan and already it’s making a difference. His mother, Clare Walker, says:
“It is a massive help. It’s plain and simple and it informs of you what you need to do. He has had an inhaler for a while but I never had the information before and, obviously, the information on paper is much better. We only got the information a week ago and it has already shown a difference – he’s not having to take as much of the inhaler because he’s taking it properly.”

Rhys is also delighted with the improvements he’s seen:
“I can do more because I don’t get breathless that much. It’s been really good – I can do more walking and running. I can run for two to three minutes without getting breathless,” he says. “We play cricket on a Monday and we have to run from one side to the other to get a run, and I can do that now, it’s been helping.”

Parents of children and young people with asthma are being urged to make an appointment with their GP or practice nurse to obtain an individual management plan now, prior to the new school year in September.
“That’s the time when we see a peak in asthma attacks. This is due to seasonal variations and also viral infections which spread around classrooms,” says Louise. “So having a plan in place that the child and his or her adult carers are familiar with will help keep the child as well as possible at this time and enable the condition to be managed more easily.”

For more information on asthma, visit the Asthma UK website.

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Notes to editors

• Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are the new NHS organisations responsible for buying healthcare services for their local populations. They have taken over most of the healthcare commissioning responsibilities of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), which were abolished on 31st March 2013.

• There are three CCGs in the Bradford district: Bradford City CCG, Bradford Districts CCG and Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG.

• Each CCG is a membership organisation, made up of its individual GP practices. Members have elected GPs to a clinical board which is responsible for leading the vision and strategy, and developing and overseeing the commissioning process. It also has a governing body which ensures the organisation carries out its duties in the right way.

• Bradford City CCG is made up of 27 member GP practices that look after the health needs of over 118,000 people. The CCG’s chief officer is Helen Hirst and the chief clinical officer is Dr Akram Khan.

• Bradford Districts CCG is made up of 41 member GP practices that look after the health needs of 328,000 people. The CCG’s chief officer is Helen Hirst and the chief clinical officer is Dr Andy Withers.

• Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG is made up of 17 member practices that look after the health needs of 156,000 people. The CCG’s chief clinical officer is Dr Phil Pue and the clinical chair is Dr Colin Renwick.

• CCGs are responsible for commissioning the following services: planned hospital care, mental health, community health, maternity, rehabilitation, urgent and emergency care and continuing healthcare.

• The former local PCT’s public health services are now the responsibility of Bradford Council. The commissioning of primary care services – doctors, dentists, pharmacies and opticians – is now the responsibility of NHS England.