Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson meets with Asthma UK Cham

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson with Asthma UK Champion Julia Kerr.

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson met a leading asthma campaigner from Maghull in Parliament last week.

Julia Kerr, of Claremont Avenue, met with Bill to discuss her concerns over health provision for the 5.4 million asthma sufferers in the UK. 

The 24-year-old campaigner, who has suffered from the condition since the age of nine, is now an ambassador for Asthma UK and met with Bill at an event in Westminster.

Asthma campaigner and sufferers want the government to recognise the needs of people with long term conditions like this and wants to see the NHS focus on supported self-management and shared decision making.

Julia told Bill: “We all need to be aware of asthma and its symptons. I was astounded that my taxi driver in London was under the impression that an asthma attack resulted in a seizure. We need to raise awareness in sufferers and others.

“You can develop asthma at any time. There's no cure for asthma. People can be symptom free, but they still must have their regular checks. They should be getting checked yearly if they are adults, or every six months if they are children.

"That's why I work hard to raise awareness of this condition. People need to know what asthma is, and know how to cope with it."

The Asthma UK campaign highlights the fact that:

·         People with an asthma action plan are four times less likely to need emergency care

·         25% of people with asthma are more likely to take time off sick

·         3 people a day die from asthma or 1 person every 8 hours (there were 1,131 deaths from asthma in the UK in 2009)

·         Emergency care costs three and half times more than prevention

·         5.4 million people in the UK are being treated for asthma. 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12)

·         Liverpool has one of the highest levels of emergency admissions

·         90% of deaths are preventable as are 75% of emergency admissions


Julia said: “I would like to thank Bill Esterson MP for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with me and for his commitment to this cause.”

Bill Esterson first met Julia Kerr in Maghull and the MP said he was very impressed by her tenacity. He said that meeting her in London reinforced his previous impression of Julia that shewas an 'inspiration'.

Bill said: "There are millions of sufferers like Julia across the UK and they are an inspiration to us all. But how many of those who are being treated are aware of the treatment they need and how many sufferers out there are not being treated.

“Julia set her case for herself and other very succinctly and told me what she wants to see happen.

"We need self management which would see a reduction in hospital admissions as the sufferer would be given the right care information and support without needing to see a doctor.

"We need to see shared decision making so that people with asthma have a say in their treatment and care. People who are engaged in their care have far better health outcomes.

"And finally we want a NHS mandate to set measurable, aspirational yet realistic levels for an improvement in health. This is vital for people with long-term conditions like asthma, who represent a growing proportion of NHS patients and spending.

"I once again want to thank Julia and all those involved in Asthma UK for inviting me to meet with them and highlighting the issues and problems we face if we do not get this right. More than 5million people are being treated for asthma and we can save lives, improve health and save money if the government follows the simple steps requested by Julia and her colleagues. I hope that the government listens to Julia and millions of other sufferers across the country.”

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