One of the major problems in the United Kingdom is the cost of preventable recurrent treatment for people with asthma attacks in hospitals, Accident & Emergency Departments (EDs) and Urgent Care Centres.
Commissioners actively encourage General Practitioners to reduce admissions however, it is not in the interest of the providers, simply because they will lose income. That is possibly one of the major reasons that up to 10% of adults and 15% of children and young people are readmitted or re-attend for emergency care for asthma within 6 and 12 weeks of treatment. Similarly, downward pressure on GPs to prescribe expensive preventer medication for asthma results in increased attacks and secondary care utilisation – so savings in prescribing are translated into increased unscheduled care costs.
Sadly, successive governments have failed to tackle this problem by persisting with allocation of separate budgets to the primary & secondary care sectors. This is also due to the loss of the ‘National’ in the NHS. Instead of a centralised, long term forward plan for managing health care, we have to undergo major wasteful change every time a new Minister for Health is appointed.
It really is time for change! My suggestions:
i) Stop paying Hospitals, A&E Departments and Urgent Care Centres if patients re-attend for asthma exacerbations within 4 weeks. ii) Lets have a referendum – ‘ Politicians IN or OUT of the National Health Service’