Why it matters

Every 10 seconds, someone in the UK suffers a potentially life-threatening asthma attack1. Every day at least three people sadly die as a result of asthma. Asthma deaths are on the increase with the Office for National Statistics data (2015) revealing a 17% increase since 20142. The highest for a decade.

Every 5 minutes, someone in the UK dies from lung disease. One in five people in the UK have been diagnosed with a lung disease and half of them are currently on treatment (mainly inhalers)3.

The National Review of Asthma Deaths (2014)4 found that two thirds of asthma deaths are preventable. Further, The Annual Asthma Survey (2016) found that seven out of ten people with asthma do not receive care that meets the most basic clinical standards. Correct use of inhaler devices is a crucial focus for good basic care5.

The UK Inhaler Group (UKIG), a coalition of not-for-profit organisations and professional societies, recognises that many people find inhalation of medicines complicated and difficult leading to sub-optimal use and effect. It is vital that healthcare professionals have the skills to assist patients, yet many practitioners lack the necessary knowledge and skills relating to inhaler technique to support them.

As a result, UKIG has developed a set of standards and competencies for healthcare practitioners6 to enable them to work with patients to optimise technique and maximise the benefit of the medication.


  1. Asthma UK (2016) Asthma facts and statistics [online]. Available from: https://www.asthma.org.uk/about/media/facts-and-statistics/ (Accessed April 2017).
  2. Office for National Statistics (2015) cited by Asthma UK [online]. Available  from: https://www.asthma.org.uk/asthma-deaths-in-england-wales-hit-10-year-peak/ (Accessed April 2017).
  3. British Lung Foundation (2016) ‘The battle for breath – the impact of lung disease in the UK’ [online]. Available from: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0221/4446/files/The_Battle_for_Breath_FINAL_lr.pdf (Accessed April 2017).
  4. Royal College of Physicians (2014) ‘Why asthma still kills: The National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD)’ [online]. Available from: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/file/868/download?token=3wikiuFg (Accessed April 2017).
  5. Asthma UK (2016) ‘Annual Asthma Survey 2016 report’ [online]. Available from: https://www.asthma.org.uk/globalassets/get-involved/external-affairs-campaigns/publications/annual-asthma-care-survey/annualasthmasurvey2016final.pdf (Accessed April 2017).
  6. UKIG (2016) ‘Inhaler Standards and Competency Document’ [online]. Available from: http://www.respiratoryfutures.org.uk/media/69775/ukig-inhaler-standards-january-2017.pdf (Accessed April 2017).