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East Lancashire has UK’s most hospital asthma cases
EAST Lancashire has the highest hospital admission rates for asthma attacks in the country.
New figures show that Blackburn with Darwen Care Trust Plus had the top admission rate by population of any primary care trust in the 12 months up to July 2011.
NHS Information Centre data reveals that the borough had 430 cases – equating to a rate of 307 admissions per 100,000 – compared to a national average of 130 per 100,000.
NHS East Lancashire, which covers the five boroughs of Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale, had the third worst rate out of 151 PCTs.
It recorded 912 episodes, a rate of 239 admissions per 100,000.
Tim Straughan, NHS Information Centre chief executive, said that North West hospitals saw the highest number of asthma admissions in the country.
And Neil Churchill, chief executive of the charity Asthma UK, said: “It’s disappointing not to see progress in reducing hospital admissions for the 630,000 people with asthma in the North West, given that 75 per cent of these are preventable.”
Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen’s director of public health, said he was “very concerned” by the results.
He said the main reason for serious asthma attacks in East Lancashire was the poor state of housing, with other triggers including the area’s damp climate, air pollutants and high smoking rates.
He said: “Forty six per cent of housing in the borough is below decent standard.
“We know because of our housing stock, which includes a lot of pre-1919 terraced housing without central heating or double glazing, high asthma rates are likely.
“The risk of having asthma is increased dramatically by cold and damp, mould and dust mites.”
Mr Harrison said he would meet with fellow health chiefs to see how the trust could improve its position, but that anybody with asthma or asthma symptoms should contact their GP to make sure they are on the disease register and receive help managing their condition.
A spokesman for NHS East Lancashire said there was concern at the figures.
She said: “The primary care trust is working with GP practices to address issues around health and support patients to have a better outcome.”