Asthma – Health care professionals

What is Wessex Asthma Network (WAN)?

The Wessex Asthma Network in a collaboration between the severe asthma teams at University Hospitals Southampton and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

The aim of the Wessex Asthma Network is to improve care for patients with severe asthma.
The aim of the Wessex Asthma Network is to improve care for patients with severe asthma in Southampton, Hampshire, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. By forming the Wessex Asthma Network expertise can be shared more easily and the teams can work together on news projects and research in asthma.

Why is the Wessex Asthma Network needed?

Asthma affects 5.4 million patients in the UK costing the NHS in excess of £1 billion/year. Despite treatment the condition is poorly controlled in more than half of these patients who continue to suffer serious symptoms including debilitating breathlessness and frightening asthma attacks.

Asthma attacks often culminate in emergency hospital admission, indeed in the past year Wessex has seen 1835 emergency adult hospital admission (306 more than expected based on national average) due to asthma costing over £2.1 million. Asthma still kills people every year in the UK, with poorly-controlled asthmatics being at greatest risk, and it is widely accepted that the majority of these deaths are preventable. Asthma UK have highlighted the need to improve the quality of life of all patients with asthma by improving access to services, reducing inequalities in care and ensuring a high standard of care for all people with asthma. It is well established that the pro-active clinical review of patients with asthma improves clinical outcomes and the majority of patients with poorly controlled asthma can achieve good control.

About half a million patients (over 6,700 in Wessex) have severe asthma which does not respond to normal asthma treatments. The burden of severe asthma on the NHS is enormous accounting for almost 80% of total asthma costs with frequent exacerbations and expensive medications generating much of this cost. Patients with severe asthma bear the greatest burden of asthma morbidity suffering more frequent and severe exacerbations which reduce their quality of life, impair their ability to work and place an enormous burden of anxiety on them and their families. They also face discrimination from employers, healthcare professionals and society as a whole as a result of their asthma.

The recent National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD May 2014) highlighted the importance of recognising patients with poor asthma control, the importance of personalised management plans and follow up after acute exacerbations.

What does it mean for patients?

By working together the teams from the hospitals can share expertise and experience to improve patient care and experience. Together the teams have reviewed guidelines for the treatment of asthma so all patients have the same quality of treatment, wherever they live.

The Wessex Asthma Network can use their experiences to set up new treatments such as bronchial thermoplasty. This is now being set up at Portsmouth and Southampton hospitals; currently patients have to travel to London.

As a network opportunities for research are much greater. The network has already worked together on the Wessex Severe Asthma Cohort – an observational study of patients with severe asthma which has helped us understand more about severe asthma. There are also more opportunities for patients to get involved in research and gain access to new treatments that are not currently available on the NHS. See our research page for more information.

The Wessex Asthma Network are committed to support health care professionals working with asthma patients across Wessex. The Network plans to develop regular educational sessions and welcomes any suggestions on ways to improve asthma education in Wessex.

One of the strengths of the Wessex Asthma Network is the sharing of expertise and multi disciplinary working. The network has already worked together to review guidelines on the treatment of severe asthma.

The Network’s strength also lies in its research activity. Asthma research at Southampton and Portsmouth is growing rapidly and includes research from a biochemical level through to novel treatments and commercial trials. See our research page for more information.

Collaboration between the severe asthma teams

About 'Wessex Asthma Network'

The Wessex Asthma Network in a collaboration between the severe asthma teams at University Hospitals Southampton and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. The aim of the Wessex Asthma Network is to improve care for patients with severe asthma in Southampton, Hampshire, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. By forming the Wessex Asthma Network expertise can be shared more easily and the teams can work together on news projects and research in asthma.

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Contact Information

  • Wessex Asthma Network
  • [email protected]
  • Portsmouth NHS
  • Southampton NHS
  • Isle Of Wight NHS

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