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37 people in Ireland died from asthma attacks last year

And Leo wants this figure to drop.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/bubutu

SOME 37 PEOPLE in Ireland died following asthma attacks last year.

The number reduced from 53 in 2011, but Health Minister Leo Varadkar wants it to fall even further.

Today he launched new national clinical guidelines on asthma attacks, patient safety, hospital standards, and the treatment of a type of cancer.

In 2011, 99 patients were discharged from ICU following an acute asthma attack. In 2014 the figure was 109.

One of the guidelines announced today gives advice to healthcare professionals on management of an acute asthma attack in adults.

The department of health said the aim is to reduce mortality in this “potentially fatal but treatable condition”.

A statement said the new measure will help healthcare workers “give the most appropriate and effective immediate treatments to those over 16 years of age who are having an acute asthma attack and guides them in ‘next steps’ depending on the severity”.

Higher standards 

Two guidelines promote patient safety and higher standards in hospitals by setting national standards for an early warning system for children, and how patient information is shared between clinicians when the patient is handed over in adult and children’s hospitals.

The other guideline for diagnosis, staging and treatment of gestational trophoblastic disease (a group of conditions in which tumours grow inside a woman’s uterus) emerged from the National Cancer Control Programme and also aims to reduce mortality.

Varadkar said the measures will “further enhance the package of patient safety measures I announced recently, including the creation of a National Patient Safety Office within the department of health and an independent National Advisory Council for Patient Safety.”

The minister announced the guidelines at the third annual Symposium at Dublin Castle organised by the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC), which commissioned them in partnership with the HSE Clinical Programmes, expert clinicians, regulatory bodies, postgraduate training bodies, hospitals and patients.

Read: Leo: If there was an overnight fix for the health service I would’ve implemented it

Read: If universal health insurance isn’t dead, then when on earth will it actually happen?

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Órla Ryan

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