HC Deb 24 May 1994 vol 244 cc173-4
9. Mr. McFall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the estimate of the number of individuals suffering from asthma in each of the past five years.

Mr. Sackville

A recent estimate suggests that there are 2.5 million in the United Kingdom.

Mr. McFall

Does the Minister realise that asthma is now the health scandal of the 1990s? There are more than 3 million sufferers, and one in seven of all children suffer from the disease. In addition to the human suffering, there is an economic cost. Does he accept that any preventive medical programme should take that into consideration? When will the Government start doing something about the increasing number of asthma sufferers?

Mr. Sackville

The hon. Gentleman shows his total ignorance of the fact that the new doctors' contract includes a chronic disease management programme, which means a call and recall system for asthma sufferers to ensure that their management of the disease is properly organised, that they are monitored and that they are aware of all the medication and of all the other action that can be taken.

Mr. Jenkin

Will my hon. Friend undertake to re-examine "The Health of the Nation" and to think about setting targets for asthma prevention, as I understand happens in Scotland?

Mr. Sackville

Yes, but we believe that we shall make a great deal of progress on asthma treatment now that we have a proper monitoring programme within primary care.