A NEWPORT woman has called for better support for people with asthma in Wales, as one charity calls the nation's record on lung health "shameful".

Louise, 52, from Newport, said she suffers with asthma every day, but people are all too often dismissive of the condition.

"I had a bad chest infection when I was 19 and was struggling to breathe, I was told I had asthma and given an inhaler," she said.

"Years went by and I was still getting out of breath and was given different inhalers. I felt like I was going from pillar to post without any real significant improvement or reason why I was feeling like this."

She believes the condition should be taken more seriously in Wales.

"In 30 years of living with asthma I've been seen by just one asthma specialist. I asked several times over the years to be referred but nothing ever came of it, and I just relied on self-managing my asthma at home without proper checks," she said.

"I do feel if you don’t have a loud voice, people with asthma are often dismissed and left behind. People say 'it’s just asthma' but it can take away someone's life. I want people to take it more seriously."

Her calls come on Tuesday's World Asthma Day, as the charity Asthma + Lung UK Cymru publishes a major report on the state of asthma care in Wales.

The charity claims:

  • Some 24 per cent of people surveyed with asthma received basic care;
  • Nearly half of people with asthma have "poorly controlled asthma", which is being "fuelled by the lack of basic care, and not enough research into different types of asthma";
  • Some 88 per cent of people are at risk of being over-reliant on their reliever inhaler;
  • Only 47 per cent of people surveyed had had their inhaler technique checked, a key part of managing your condition and staying well;
  • A third (37 per cent) of people surveyed said they did not feel supported after receiving emergency care. This follow-up care is "crucial in preventing future asthma attacks through proper assessment", the charity warned.

"This report shows why we must urgently raise the bar in asthma care in Wales," said Joseph Carter, who leads the charity, which has called on government to "give respiratory health the investment and attention it deserves".

"Not only are our poorest communities affected the most, but women are also twice as likely to die of an asthma attack than men," he added.

"We must address the stark inequalities and improve the care and support in people are currently receiving in Wales."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We are taking firm action to create a healthier and greener Wales. This includes action to improve air quality, reduce smoking rates and support people living with respiratory diseases.

"We provide health boards with substantial funding each year and as part of this we expect them to deliver comprehensive support for people with lung conditions including asthma. Our Quality Statement for respiratory diseases supports health boards to plan and improve the quality and consistency of healthcare for people with respiratory conditions across Wales.

"Our Clean Air Plan for Wales and the Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill also supports action to reduce the impact of air pollution on people’s health, especially in relation to respiratory conditions."