GPs from Tower Hamlets are working with The Healthy London Partnership to raise awareness about asthma, encouraging people to ask questions in a bid to improve the quality of life for those who live with the condition.
The campaign, supported by the Mayor of London, is running for the third year in a row, and is timed to coincide with the week that is simultaneously the start of the new school year and traditionally the week with the highest hospital admission rates for asthma.
Local GPs are encouraging other health professionals, children, young people and their families to ask for three simple effective interventions to help them control their asthma. They should:
- have an asthma management plan.
- be able to use their inhaler effectively
- have an annual asthma review of their medication and care
This year #AskAboutAsthma is focusing on #OneThingLDN – asking Londoners what they have done, will do or would like to see happen to improve asthma care or air quality for CYP in London. This could be through tweeting using #OneThingLDN, writing a blog with a link to the campaign, or encouraging your staff to produce their own #OneThingLDN (more details are available on The Healthy London Partnership’s website).
By increasing awareness and discussion around the topic, we can work to improve the lives of those who have asthma in Tower Hamlets. Air quality is crucial to this, and it is an issue that affects everyone, but particularly those with asthma. Small steps that do make a difference include:
- Encourage more exercise by walking to work/school
- Car pooling and turning off engines when idle
- Using non/less toxic materials in homes and offices
- Having greenery in and around homes and offices
Come to ‘Take a Breather’ day
In Tower Hamlets a free event takes place on Tuesday 17 September. Supported by Tower Hamlets Together, the ‘Take a Breather day’ will feature topics related to asthma and the interface with allergy/eczema in children and young people.
This will include the impact of air pollution and the practical advice that can be offered to support families, children and young people.
It will be an opportunity:
- to understand the role everyone plays in the journey of children and young people and the importance of collaborative working – real case scenarios will be shared;
- for clinicians to attend focused sessions on the management of conditions;
- for non-clinical attendees to better understand what to do and have a clear idea of where best to signpost for clinical input.
Any clinical or non-clinical staff working with children and young people across the borough are welcome to attend, as well as community ambassadors with a special interest in this matter.
Sam Everington, a local GP and chair of NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
“Asthma is one of the most common conditions around, and it’s important that everyone understands how it works, particularly if they are close to someone that has it. By raising awareness, we are reducing any stigma and hopefully helping people better manage the condition; perhaps even helping people to realise that they have it in the first place.
“Asthma is also often exacerbated by poor air quality, particularly in London. Air quality is important to everyone in the capital, but particularly if you already have trouble with breathing. I’m delighted to see that this campaign has such a large focus on improving air quality, which has far-reaching consequences well beyond asthma.”
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“Poor air quality in Tower Hamlets means that children in the borough have up to 10% less lung capacity than the national average. Pollution is also a top trigger for asthma attacks, putting children at greater risk of having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
“Our Breathe Clean campaign aims to have a positive effect on air quality in Tower Hamlets through education and enforcement, meaning that children are free to breather cleaner air. We look forward to hearing more ideas from Londoners during the #AskAboutAsthma campaign.”
For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma.