Identifying lung disease: caring for people with asthma

We want all people with asthma to receive the care they need to be able to live well, despite their condition.

Effective treatments are available but many people with asthma miss out, particularly those whose condition is severe. Asthma diagnosis is complex because the symptoms can be caused by other conditions. Diagnostic tests to give the best results in telling the difference between different types of asthma are still being developed.

We think that people with asthma will get better care if health care professionals in different parts of the NHS agree guidelines for testing and treating asthma. We also need to make sure that all health care professionals have the up-to-date information they need to care for patients.

Health care professionals can take a big step towards this by referring to the Primary Care Respiratory Society, which provides guidance on the existing advice from NICE and the British Thoracic Society. But what’s really needed is a single, comprehensive guide that is used by everyone across the NHS.

Measure of success 

A single guideline for the diagnosis and management of asthma is jointly developed by NICE, the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) and BTS.

Read our specific recommendations