The findings from the first UK review of asthma deaths will have the full attention of the Scottish Government, Public Health Minister Michael Matheson has pledged.
Falkirk West’s MSP gave the guarantee at Holyrood following the publication of the results from a research group which warns “complacency” among medical staff and patients is costing lives.
The study, led by Dr Kevin Stewart of the Royal College of Physicians, found that, in over half the cases they looked at, patients were being treated for mild or moderate asthma at the time they died. Experts agree this was mostly because the doctors or patients themselves failed to recognise how serious their asthma really was.
The report also found that, because symptoms “come and go”, some patients may forget or feel they do not need their medication and they and their GP can become complacent about the illness.
Mr Matheson told MSPs: “The Scottish Government is committed to providing the best quality care and treatment for people living with asthma in Scotland and welcomes the publication of the national review. We will look closely at the key findings to ensure action and learning is taken forward and part of that will be about what local plans need to be developed by individual health boards to respond.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said: “The majority of asthma patients are seen by GPs and practice nurses who provide information and advice to help them manage their condition, recognise the danger signs and know when to seek help.”