Emergency hospital admissions for asthma and access to primary care: cross-sectional analysis

Robert Fleetcroft, Michael Noble, Aidan Martin, Emma Coombes, John Ford, Nicholas Steel

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Access to general practices may be an important determinant of emergency admissions for asthma, as early treatment of exacerbations has been shown to prevent deterioration.

Aim: To determine whether access to primary care is associated with emergency admissions for asthma.

Design and Setting: Cross-sectional analysis of data from English practices in 2010/11.

Method: Negative binomial regression was used to explore the associations between emergency admissions for asthma and seven measures of patient-reported access to general practice services taken from GP Patient Survey, controlled for the characteristics of practice populations. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) were calculated for each association.

Results: 7806 (95%) of practices had data for all variables. There were 3,134,106 patients with asthma, and there were 55,570 emergency admissions with asthma. Admission rates were lower in practices with a higher composite access score (adjusted IRR for 10% change in variable 0.679 (95%CI 0.665 to 0.708)). Admissions were higher in those practices with higher proportions of the practice population who were white, and in practices with lower performance in the Quality and Outcomes Framework indicator ‘asthma review in past 15 months’ (Asthma 6). Assuming these associations were causal, a higher access score of 10% was associated with a decrease of 17,837 admissions per year for these practices.

Conclusion: Practices with higher patient reported access had lower rates of emergency admissions for asthma. Policy makers should consider improving access to primary care as one potential way to help prevent emergency hospital admissions for asthma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e640-e646
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number650
Early online date21 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • Asthma
  • emergency admissions
  • primary care
  • quality of healthcare
  • access

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