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More resources needed to tackle asthma, with 470,000 sufferers in Ireland – Buttimer

6th October 2015 - Aoife Carragher

Fine Gael TD for Cork South Central, and chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Health, Jerry Buttimer, has said today (Tuesday) that more needs to be done within our health services to tackle asthma in Ireland.

A new report out today, ‘The Health and Wellbeing Study: An Investigation into the Perceived Health and Wellbeing of Irish Adults Living with Asthma in Ireland”, found that 470,000 people in Ireland have asthma. It also found that every 26 minutes someone visits A&E because of asthma.

“The report reveals that one in five people with asthma cannot work due to poor health and over 60% experience depressive symptoms. The loss of productivity from the condition amounts to 12 missed days of work per adult in an average year, and 10 missed days at school for a child.

“This report has some very worrying findings. It dispels the myth that ‘asthma is not a serious condition’, whilst unearthing new facts about the emotional trauma asthma can bring. It also shows how asthma affects quality of life and availability to work.

“Understanding of asthma is something we all need to work on and I feel it is important that we make provisions for the health needs of people with asthma. This Government is putting extra resources into this area. This year, for the first time the provision of a cycle of care for child patients with asthma has been included in the contract with GPs for the provision of free GP care to under 6s. This is an important first step in the provision of a comprehensive programme for asthma.

“This and other steps which are underway will make a difference; but this report shows that more needs to be done.

“I want to congratulate Dr Mary Hughes and everyone involved in this report. The collaborative efforts of UCC, the Asthma Society of Ireland and Novartis show why studies like this are important. They have demonstrated the impact that asthma has and why it is in everyone’s interest to help those affected by the condition.”

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