A new education package targeting GPs in high-risk areas for asthma has been released.
GPs in areas at high-risk of childhood asthma can now access a new educational resource as part of the Improving Childhood Asthma Management program.
The National Asthma Council Australia clinical education package, based on the Australian Asthma Handbook, aims to address the burden of asthma in one of the areas hit hardest by the condition: inner western Melbourne.
“For every age group in the zero to 19-year age range, children and adolescents from the inner west [of Melbourne] present to hospitals for asthma and wheeze at higher rates than the Victorian metropolitan average,” Narelle Williamson, senior clinical consultant at the National Asthma Council said in a statement.
But any GP interested in the training, regardless of location, is welcome to participate.
The inner western region of Melbourne – Brimbank, Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong – have some of the highest levels of air pollution in the country due to transport, industry and shipping emissions, as well as pollution from waste fires and wood heaters.
These municipalities are also in close proximity to rye grasslands, meaning residents are at an increased risk of being affected by thunderstorm asthma with little to no warning.
Key components of the tailored education package include identifying asthma triggers specific to the inner western suburbs of Melbourne and summarising important details to be included in each child’s written asthma action plan.
Ms Williamson hopes the successful implementation of this education package will address the variation in asthma management seen in inner western Melbourne, where only 40% of children seen in hospitals for asthma or wheeze are referred to follow-up care.
Many children in inner western Melbourne did not have a regular GP, nor a written asthma action plan that could be enacted by their parents or carers. This lack of consistency places additional, yet highly preventable, pressure on local hospital systems.
“It’s also about increasing the confidence of families to manage their child’s asthma so they’re not having to jump in the car in the wee hours of the morning and drive to hospitals,” Ms Williamson said.
Ms Williamson told The Medical Republic that while she hoped similar targeted programs would be implemented in other high-risk regions around the country, there are currently no plans or funding available to do so.
Further details about can be found on the National Asthma Council Australia website.