New Irish research reveals 'huge economic burden of asthma' for 4,205 Carlow sufferers

Do you suffer from asthma?

Darren Hassett


Darren Hassett


Carlow Carlow Carlow

The Asthma Society of Ireland say 4,205 people have asthma in Carlow

New research published by the Asthma Society of Ireland confirms the enormity of the asthma burden and contains, for the first time, up-to-date figures on the number of people affected by asthma in Ireland.

Easing the Economic Burden of Asthma – The Impact of a Universal Asthma Self-Management Programme1 is the first prevalence and impact assessment of asthma since 2001 and confirms the national economic burden of the chronic disease to be €472 million per year.

The research was supported by a grant from GSK Ireland.

Previous estimates into the large-scale impact of asthma on the Irish healthcare system under-estimated the number of people with asthma in Ireland.

€102 million is lost each year in potential savings and action is now needed if we are to turn around patient care and reduce the economic impact.

Of the total annual €472 million economic strain, the cost of hospitalisations, emergency department visits and GP consultations accounted for 57% of total direct costs.

In 2017, there was an estimated 2.4 million and 625,000 GP and Practice Nurse consultations for asthma respectively.

There was also a significant burden in the hospital setting with an estimated 421,000 and 133,000 Specialist and Emergency Department visits respectively, along with almost 8,000 hospital admissions.

Speaking at the launch, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, Sarah O’Connor, said: “The reality of asthma for our health system and our patients is made crystal clear from this research.

"It tells us that we are getting asthma management wrong – structurally, it revolves solely around the asthma patient in crisis and fails in long-term control.

“We can see Emergency Department visits and hospital admissions. We can see that, in comparison to other countries in Western Europe, Ireland has the poorest mortality outcome from asthma and one of the highest asthma hospitalisation rates. We can quantify how many GP and nurse consultations are involved at primary care level.

"Uncontrolled asthma costs the individual and the state - research shows that 60% of Irish people with asthma do not have it controlled.  Sadly, at present, six people in Ireland die every six days as a result of their asthma.

"This research highlights the value of a universal asthma self-management programme at the macro-level, showing the benefits for the healthcare system, the cost savings and efficiencies and the potential impact of the measure as a whole."

Results from the Easing the Economic Burden of Asthma research:

890,000 people in Ireland experience asthma at some stage of their life.
€472 million:  the amount asthma costs the state per annum.
€1,242: The annual average cost of asthma per person.
4 million: the number of asthma GP consultations annually.
625,000: the number of asthma Practise Nurse consultations annually.
8,000: The number of asthma admissions to hospital every year.
Four minutes: How often someone in Ireland visits an Emergency Department with asthma.
1 in 13 people in Ireland currently have asthma.
1 in 10 children currently have asthma.
1 in 5 children experience asthma at some stage in their life.
1 person every six days as a result of their asthma.
Compared to 14 other European countries:  Ireland had the highest death rate from asthma in 2015. 
Seven: The average number of work days missed every year due to asthma.
Five: The average number of school days missed every year due to asthma.
Ireland had the second highest rate of asthma hospital discharges in Western Europe in 2016.
40,593: The number of children registered under the Asthma Cycle of Care programme.
68days: Average length of stay with an asthma hospital admission.