Childhood asthma

Why is it important?

Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition in children in the UK, with around one in 11 children and young people living with asthma. The UK has one of the highest prevalence, emergency admission and death rates for childhood asthma in Europe. Outcomes are worse for children and young people living in the most deprived areas (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (2020) State of Child Health).

Asthma is a long-term condition but can be perceived as a mild disease and research shows that it is often not taken seriously enough. A study showed that one in six people in the UK do not know or are unsure if the condition can be fatal (Charity Awareness Monitor, January 2017)

Key facts

  • 1 million children in the UK are receiving treatment for asthma.
  • The rate of emergency hospital admissions for asthma among children and young people aged under 19 in 2017/2018 was 174 in England, 165 in Wales and 157 in Scotland (all per 100,000 children and young people aged 0 to 18 years).
  • Less than 25% of children with asthma have a personalised asthma action plan (PAAP).
  • Nearly half have had an asthma attack in the previous year.
  • 30% have had daytime symptoms in the previous week.

What is NHS England doing to improve care and outcomes for children and young people living with asthma?

The Children and Young People’s (CYP) Transformation programme has committed in the NHS Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for CYP.

We have been working with key stakeholders, including young people and their families, to develop a National bundle of care for children and young people with asthma to support local systems with the management of asthma care. The programme sets out the blueprint of evidence-based interventions to help children, young people, families and carers, to control and reduce the risk of asthma attacks and to prevent avoidable harm.

Evidence based standards of care have been developed for each element of the patient pathway and associated with these are deliverables for systems, enablers and levers and measures of success.

A final and complete version of the national bundle of care will be published in Autumn 2023, until then it will be considered an iterative document that will be built upon with key stakeholders as the work develops.

Find out more

If you would like to know more about the work of the Children and Young People’s Transformation programme, please contact