Doctors urge ministers to act as 1,320 killed by asthma in England and Wales last year
Last modified on Wed 18 Jul 2018 20.00 BST
A record number of people are dying of asthma, and experts have warned growing air pollution and a lack of basic care could be to blame.
In England and Wales 1,320 people died of asthma last year, a sharp rise of more than 25% over a decade, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
The findings come amid growing concern about the air pollution crisis in the UK and mounting evidence of its impact on people’s health – particularly children and the elderly.
Earlier this month a medical expert said the hospital admissions of a nine-year-old girl who died during an asthma attack showed a “striking association” with spikes in illegal levels of air pollution around her home in London.
Last week an A&E doctor wrote in the Guardian about how her ward in London was overwhelmed by terrified children struggling to breathe because of dangerous levels of pollution. A separate report revealed that illegal levels of air pollution were driving up hospital admissions and GP visits.
Jonathan Grigg, a professor of paediatric respiratory medicine at Queen Mary University of London and a British Lung Foundation medical adviser, said:“These figures add to the growing body of evidence that air pollution is damaging everyone’s health. The case to clean up our air couldn’t be clearer, but the government has not yet showed the courage to deliver a credible nationwide plan.”
Today’s findings from the ONS showed that 1,320 people died in 2017 compared with 1,237 in 2016 and 1,033 in 2007. There has been an increase of 43% in asthma deaths in those aged 55-64 since 2016.