Memorandum submitted by the National Asthma
The National Asthma Campaign is the independent
UK charity dedicated to conquering asthma. If funds asthma research,
offers help and advice and campaigns for a better deal for people
with asthma and has a vision of a world without asthma.
Asthma is about more than wheezing now and then.
For many it means daily anxiety about how to avoid an asthma attack.
For some it is a matter of life and death. There is currently
Approximately 5.1 million people are currently
being treated for asthma in the UK, which equates to one in eight
children and one in twelve adults. We have estimated that this
costs the NHS £854 million per annum. The UK has among the
highest prevalence of severe wheeze amongst children in the world
and it also accounts for almost half of all long-term conditions
in children. In a recent report, the World Health Organisation
warned that the upsurge of asthma in western Europe was causing
greater economic and social damage than either TB or HIV.
The National Asthma Campaign believes that the
following points should be considered in the Draft Bill:
As the key body in the UK that represents
people with asthma, the National Asthma Campaign welcomes the
development of the twenty Community Health Councils in Wales.
It is however essential that the National Asthma Campaign alongside
other patient focused organisations and charities dealing with
long term medical conditions are fully represented on these councils
in order to ensure that they are truly reflective of the needs
of the public at large.
The National Asthma Campaign envisages
the Wales Centre for Health as bringing together much needed advice
on a range of hazards.
Approximately 134 people per week
develop asthma at work and therefore advice about occupational
asthma would be beneficial both to employers and employees.
Similarly, advice and information
on pollution would be valued by people with asthma. Whilst many
people with asthma tell us that pollution triggers their asthma
recent evidence has shown that there may well be a causal link
between pollution and asthma which therefore makes it into a larger
more treacherous hazard.
Cigarette smoke is a highly common
trigger of asthma attacks causing difficulties for up to 80 per
cent of people with asthma. Other people's smoke prevents people
with asthma from enjoying their lives to the full and the impact
of cigarette smoke extends even further and can harm unborn children.
It is therefore a hazard and there is an opportunity for advice
and risk assessments of threats to death to be conducted which
we hope will in turn lead to a ban on smoking in public places.
10 June 2002