Lung specialists urge use of guidance and five step care plan in response to new audit on asthma care in emergency departments

Responding to a new audit from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) into the care of children and adults with moderate and acute severe asthma presenting to UK emergency departments, Dr John White, British Thoracic Society member and Consultant Respiratory Physician, York NHS Foundation Trust, commented:

“This audit is an important piece of work, highlighting as it does the challenge many emergency departments are facing in meeting the time standards set by the British Thoracic Society and Royal College of Emergency Medicine in treating people with moderate and severe asthma.  The audit shows a regrettable decline in performance, something we must urgently address.

Evidence-based and practical national guidance from BTS/SIGN is available and we urge healthcare professionals across all settings to follow this in their diagnosis and management of asthma patients.

Another key issue is improving how patients are discharged. We encourage all emergency departments to adopt the five step care plan or ‘care bundle’ the British Thoracic Society has developed with Asthma UK to reduce future life-threatening asthma attacks and hospital admissions, saving many lives a year across the UK.

The ‘care bundle’ is a simple set of evidence-based actions that should be used when asthma patients have passed the normal criteria for being discharged from hospital – a golden window of opportunity to prevent readmission.  They include assessing inhaler technique, reviewing medication, providing a written asthma action plan, looking at ‘trigger’ factors like tobacco smoke at home and ensuring a follow-up appointment.

Preventing readmission by improving ongoing asthma control is an important part of reducing illness from asthma and saving lives.”

The BTS/Asthma UK care bundle can be downloaded in full here



For more information, please contact Ed Gyde or Rosie Strachan on 020 7831 8778 or /


Note to Editors:

The British Thoracic Society (BTS) is the UK’s professional body of respiratory specialists.

The Society seeks to improve standards of care for people who have respiratory diseases and to support and develop those who provide that care.  A registered charity, it has over 3,000 members including doctors, nurses, respiratory physiotherapists, scientists and other professionals with a respiratory interest.