A series of educational webinars offering practical support to help improve care for people with severe or uncontrolled asthma attracted a combined audience of almost 1,000.
More than 200,000 people in the UK are affected by severe asthma which does not respond to regular treatment. They experience poor quality of life characterised by asthma attacks, asthma-related hospital admissions and long-term side-effects related to oral steroid treatment.
Potentially life-changing biologic therapies (five of which have been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – NICE – but are not yet integrated into everyday clinical practice) could bring asthma under control for almost one third of these people. But most have not been reviewed in primary care or referred to specialist services.
In April 2021, the Oxford AHSN took the lead on a new national drive to improve medicines use and outcomes for people living with severe and uncontrolled asthma on behalf of the AHSN Network and NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC).
The March 2022 educational webinars were a key part of this initiative, offering support to healthcare professionals in primary care. The three sessions covered identifying and managing uncontrolled asthma, improving adherence to asthma treatments and the launch of a consensus pathway for uncontrolled and severe asthma care. The series was supported by the Oxford AHSN and hosted by healthcare events agency Cogora on behalf of the AHSN Network and AAC.
Dr James Rose, Head of Clinical Innovation Adoption at the Oxford AHSN, said: “We were delighted with the level of interest in these three webinars – 2,700 people registered for them with almost 1,000 joining live. This demonstrates the appetite to improve asthma outcomes across the NHS. This programme has made real progress and we’re looking forward to building on this initial success in 2022/23.”
Highlights at the end of the first year of the asthma biologics initiative include:
- almost 2,000 new patient initiations of life-changing biologic therapies
- more biologic therapies prescribed for safe self-administration at home, freeing up specialist resources in asthma services and bringing care closer to patients’ homes
- fewer patients being prescribed regular high doses of oral steroids across England
- more than 5,000 unique users accessing the rapidly growing severe asthma resource base on the Oxford AHSN website
- more than 1,200 healthcare professionals attending sponsored webinars relating to the asthma biologics programme in autumn 2021 and spring 2022. Recordings of the latest webinars are available here.