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Asthma Foundation comes out in support of Guidelines Group

28 March 2012

The Asthma Foundation comes out in support of Guidelines Group

The Asthma Foundation is concerned that lack of funding will mean that the New Zealand guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of asthma will not be updated.

The guidelines were produced by New Zealand Guidelines Group (NZGG) with the help of the Asthma Foundation in September 2002. They are now out-of-­date. According to the Asthma Foundation Medical Director, Dr Bob Hancox, asthma treatment has changed in the last 10 years and the existing guidelines no longer reflect current best practice.

The original guidelines were funded by the Ministry of Health but the Asthma Foundation and the NZGG have been unable to obtain funding to update them. Now the existence of the NZGG is under threat because of withdrawal of funding.

NZGG is a not-­for-­profit organisation that provides evidence-­based guidelines for the delivery of health and disability services in New Zealand to ensure a consistent, high standard of treatment.

“Asthma is a major issue for New Zealand. We have one of the highest rates of asthma in the world. We need up-­to-­date guidelines based on the best evidence to try to reduce the impact of this disease on our patients.” says Bob.

Although there are a number of international asthma guidelines, these may not be appropriate for New Zealand. Most international guidelines include medications that are either not available in New Zealand or are not funded by Pharmac. None of the overseas guidelines address issues for Maori, who suffer a greater burden from asthma than nonMaori.

The Foundation is dismayed that funding for the NZGG has been withdrawn. New Zealand needs it’s own evidence-­based guidelines for the management of common diseases such as asthma. Asthma treatment has improved in recent years, but without locally-­agreed guidelines it may be difficult to maintain high standards of care for patients.

1. About 1 in 4 New Zealand children has asthma and 1 in 6 adults.
2. New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the world, following the UK.
3. About 800 000 New Zealanders are affected by asthma and other respiratory conditions.

About the Asthma Foundation

The Asthma Foundation is New Zealand’s not-­for-­profit sector authority on asthma and other respiratory illnesses. We advocate to government and raise awareness of respiratory illnesses, fund research for better treatments and educate on best practice. We provide resources on our website and support our 17 affiliated Asthma Societies in providing education, support and advice.


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