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Asthma Foundation to fund New Zealand Asthma Guidelines

Asthma Foundation to fund New Zealand Asthma Guidelines which will not 'sit on the shelf'

The Asthma Foundation is committed to improving respiratory health for Maori. One way to achieve this is through updating the now out-of-date Guidelines for Asthma (last updated in 2002).

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 non- Maori.

Asthma treatment has changed in the last 12 years and the previous 2002 guidelines no longer reflect current best practice. One example of this is using the SMART Regime.

A study undertaken by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, in collaboration with the University of Auckland and the University of Otago, showed using the SMART Regime reduced the risk of severe asthma attacks. Fifteen percent of participants in the study were Maori, and it found compared to others in the study, they were less likely to have an asthma attack, less likely to go to hospital, and did not need to use other medication. This goes against current hospital statistics showing that Maori are twice as likely to be hospitalised for asthma than non- Maori.

The Asthma Foundation, through their Expert Advisory Group, is focused on updating the New Zealand Asthma Guidelines as part of the development of a national respiratory strategy. "We believe that hardworking health care professionals who assess and treat asthma on the front line can't do their job adequately without up to date evidence based guidance tailored specifically for New Zealand circumstances." Said Dr Kyle Perrin, medical director for the Asthma Foundation.

The Asthma Foundation suggest it is possible to develop a tool that is integrated through patient consult software alongside these updated New Zealand Asthma Guidelines, if the Ministry was willing to support this.

The updated New Zealand Asthma Guidelines would also be underpinned by a dissemination plan to ensure uptake through primary and secondary care sectors as well as community organisations.

-Ends-

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