Nurses and consultants host asthma awareness stand at Meadowhall

Specialist asthma nurses and paediatric consultants from across the region gathered at Meadowhall on 3 May, World Asthma Day, to educate shoppers on common misconceptions about asthma.

Supported by the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Children and Young People’s Alliance (SYB CYP), these respiratory professionals, drawn from providers across the region, used airway models, information leaflets and comic books for kids to impart knowledge to lay people.

Asthma is a common condition affecting one in 11 children and young people, with every school classroom containing one or two children with Asthma.

If not treated well, Asthma has a significant impact on a child’s quality of life and their ability to enjoy activities and education. Sadly, some children and young people will die from asthma attacks every year.

Dr Shoma Ganguly, Consultant Paediatrician with a special interest in Respiratory at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH), who attended the stand said: “It is important to increase public awareness of how fatal the condition can be if not managed properly. Asthma deaths are preventable.”

Good asthma management hinges a lot on patient and parents’ understanding and education around the condition, explained Dr Ganguly, who is also the Clinical Lead for Asthma for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System Children & Young People’s Alliance (SYB ICS CYP).

Dr Sonal Kansra, Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Having a visible presence in a busy central location allowed us to spread our message widely.”

The group were also able to build supportive working relationships, Dr Kansra explained.

“This will go a long way in ensuring seamless care for children with asthma in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.”

This first meeting of specialists from across the region was certainly impactful, explained Nadine Cooper, Senior Paediatric Respiratory Nurse Specialist at DBTH.

She said: “Each person we spoke to learnt something new, something that could improve the health of either themselves or a loved one and that is incredibly powerful.”

With the UK seeing the highest prevalence of asthma but with the poorest health outcomes in Europe, myth-busting and educating the community is more important than ever.

“We need to work together to get the basics right.” Said Nadine.

Approached by a gentleman at the stand, Nadine explained how, after a long discussion about the impact of air quality on asthma, he said he ‘wished he had known about asthma risk factors earlier in his life’.

Nadine said: “For all those adults and children we spoke to, none of them will have to say ‘I wish I had known that’.”

Fatal episodes are preventable with good asthma care delivered in partnership with the child or young person and those who are involved in their lives; through empowering them to manage their asthma.

Hannah Lees, Children’s Asthma Nurse at Rotherham Hospital, said: “It’s a common condition that is often overlooked as ‘just a bit of asthma’ but if not managed well can affect people’s quality of life and result in hospitalisations.”

Exemplifying the impact of such events, Hannah explained how she was approached by a child wanting to know more about asthma because her mum had it.

“If only one person has realised that their asthma is not under control and seeks medical advice following the event then we’ve done our job.”

Jozia Sadiq, Project Manager for the SYB ICS CYP, said: “The event successfully showcased the Excellent Asthma Care in South Yorkshire (EASY) Programme and was a great success thanks to the investment of all involved.”

To learn more about this regional asthma programme, go to the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ‘Healthier Together’ page.

For more information on asthma, please visit the NHS website.