Stephen McPartland hosted the launch of Asthma UK’s Fighting for Breath report at a reception at the House of Lords, as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on asthma. Stephen pledged his support to improve the lives of people with severe asthma in Stevenage and across the UK.
Stephen said “Asthma has a huge impact on the quality of people’s lives, preventing many from being able to work, study or do normal day to day activities like caring for children, doing the shopping or managing a full night’s sleep. Severe asthma also places a huge burden on the lives of carers, who often struggle to access financial and emotional support”.
Stephen has pledged to support Asthma UK’s calls on the Government to:
- Ensure that people with severe asthma can access the benefits they are entitled to and are assessed fairly when claiming. Better training should also be provided for assessors so that people with severe asthma are not discriminated against.
- Protect specialist asthma nurse posts from cutbacks, as they are a lifeline for many people with severe asthma. Evidence also shows that they can help to reduce costly emergency hospital admissions.
- Ensure consistent, national standards on asthma care are implemented across the UK
Neil Churchill, Chief Executive of Asthma UK, says: ‘We’re calling on everyone who can make a difference to the lives of people with severe asthma to take action. Our report shows that people with severe asthma are some of the most marginalised in society, living hidden lives, facing discrimination from many areas of society and missing out on vital life opportunities.’
There are a quarter of a million people in the UK who suffer with severe asthma. Many have difficulty breathing almost all of the time, suffer frequent, serious asthma attacks, have endless trips to hospital for emergency treatment and live with the constant fear that their asthma will one day kill them. They also take high doses of a long list of medicines, which have harmful and debilitating side effects such as osteoporosis, growth problems, weight gain, diabetes, depression and hair loss. The Fighting for Breath report summarises the findings of focus groups across the UK and makes a number of recommendations.