An array of the industry’s leading healthcare representatives gathered under one roof for a respiratory training day, ‘Revisiting Respiratory – Actioning Asthma’, in a bid to share knowledge, formulate new ideas, and ultimately better shape the future of asthma care.

Asthma UK estimates that 5.4 million adults and children in the UK are living with asthma. Sparked by this prevalence, it may be presumed that the disease is commonly and appropriately treated – but sadly this just isn’t the case. As many as half of asthma sufferers aren’t taking their prescribed medicines properly, leading to an individual experiencing a potentially life-threatening asthma attack every 10 seconds. The beliefs and attitudes of the patients themselves are also a cause for concern, as it’s only with adherence that their needs will be adequately addressed.

An exciting training day recently provided a much-needed platform for the industry to confront these major issues – as well as an opportunity to address the other mechanisms underscoring asthmatic behaviour, and to reflect on the strategies which can enhance the approaches adopted by patients and healthcare professionals alike.

The event – ‘Revisiting Respiratory – Actioning Asthma’ – took place at Palm Court Hotel, Aberdeen, and attracted an extensive audience comprising representatives from different corners of the sector.

In line with the company’s vision of educating healthcare professionals and promoting high quality asthma care, the meeting was organised and funded by Napp Pharmaceuticals Limited.

The Line-up

Reflective of the complexity of asthma – and how important it is to undertake a multidisciplinary ethos – various speakers deriving from different backgrounds shared the respiratory-related lessons which they’ve picked up along the way.

Those presenting included:

• Dr Iain Small, GP, Peterhead, and NHS Grampian MCN Respiratory MCN Lead

• Professor James Chalmers, Respiratory Consultant, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee

• Dr Omar Usmani, Respiratory Consultant, Imperial College, London

• Deirdre Siddaway, Respiratory Nurse Specialist, Suffolk

• Dr Kris McLaughlin, GP, Stonehaven

• Dr Graeme Currie, Respiratory Consultant, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen

The Discussion Points

Despite targeting asthma from different angles, one common thread tied all of the presentations together – the healthcare professional’s fundamental role in equipping patients with the tools and insights to properly manage their condition.

In particular, harnessing the knowledge of children, adolescents, and their parents – and heightening engagement in this age group – in order to improve compliance, was identified as

a key area for attention. As a result, attendees were presented with tips as to how to effectively diagnose and treat these patients in question. A more in-depth exploration was also conducted in terms of what drives asthmatic behaviours – delving into the psychological and social reasons behind adherence to the medications.

Ensuring that the patient is prescribed the most effective inhalation device possible is a continuous process, and one which healthcare professionals must remain diligent about. Addressing how they can deliver this relevant information to individuals, Dr Omar Usmani, Respiratory Consultant, Imperial College, London, shared the benefits of using MDIs rather than dry powders; homing in on evidence indicating that the best health outcomes are derived from MDIs across all meta-analysis, in addition to the physics behind how devices work.

By drawing on the multiple issues highlighted throughout the day, Dr Kris McLaughlin, GP at Stonehaven, successfully summarised the important points to note when making the best decisions for patients; and how understanding their individuality is key to asthma optimisation. Dr McLaughlin also reiterated the significance of Respiratory Nurse Specialist at Suffolk, Deirdre Siddaway’s talk on the National Review of Asthma Deaths, regarding how we must not be complacent with blue inhaler overuse from patients.

In reference to other change which must be executed immediately to mobilise results, Professor James Chalmers, Respiratory Consultant, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, shed light on bronchiectasis. Increasing diagnosis of this condition needs to be considered now by primary care when they are looking at patients with suspected asthma / COPD, and they must be enlightened as to how to tell it apart and assist the individual.

As the day came to an end – concluding with closing remarks from Dr McLaughlin – the delegates departed with an optimistic outlook and a determination to implement this new evidence and advice into their real-life consultations. The future of asthma care is bright.