Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. People with asthma experience episodes of wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness due to widespread narrowing of the airways.
1 in 9 Australians reported asthma in 2014–15
1 in 5 people aged 15 and over with asthma have a written asthma action plan, based on 2014–15 self-reported survey data
About 421 deaths were due to asthma in 2015
General practitioners (GPs) play a central role in the management of asthma in the community.
This role includes assessment, diagnosis, prescription of regular medications, education, provision of written action plans, and regular review as well as managing asthma flare-ups. Asthma-related visits to GPs may occur for a variety of reasons, including:
A survey in 2012 of 2,686 Australians aged 16 and older with current asthma identified that 29% had needed urgent health care for asthma in the previous year . Of these, 23% had urgent need to see their GP, 10% their emergency department or hospital, with 4% needing one or more nights in hospital because of their asthma.
According to the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) survey, asthma was one of the most frequently managed chronic problems in the decade up to 2015–16 .
In the ten year period 2006–07 to 2015–16, the estimated rate of asthma management in general practice declined from 2.3 in 100 encounters to 2.0 in 100 encounters (Figure 1). The BEACH survey gathers information from a random sample of GPs in Australia. An 'encounter' is a consultation between a patient and a GP.
There is currently no nationally consistent primary health care data collection to monitor provision of care by GPs. Note that statistics on general practice activities based on BEACH data are derived from a sample survey of GPs and their encounters with patients, and need to be interpreted with some caution.
Source:  (Data table).
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