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Asthma emergency admissions: fall in August, rise in September

August 20, 2014: New analysis shows emergency admissions for asthma were lowest in August and increased considerably in September, and this seasonal pattern has continued since 2006-07.

*Please note we have amended some of the figures in this press release since the date of release. These changes do not impact on the overall statistical findings.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional figures are available

Today's figures are part of a special topic on ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC)3 which are chronic conditions that are usually manageable without hospitalisation. Today's report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows new analysis of eleven conditions classed as ACSC (asthma being one of these).

In the 12 months to May 2014 one in nine emergency admissions for asthma were in September (5,980 out of 54,300) and one in 20 were in August (2,530).3,4 This seasonal trend has been consistent for the past eight years where in 2006-07 hospitals in England recorded 62,670 asthma emergency admissions, one in 11 in September (9.4 per cent, or 5,900) and one in 18 in August (5.6 per cent, or 3,520).

Children accounted for the largest proportion of asthma emergency admissions where two in five were under 15 years (37.8 per cent, or 20,510 out of 54,300). One in six emergency admissions for asthma were under five years of age (15.6 per cent or 8,450),which accounted for almost two thirds (64.7 per cent) of all ACSC admissions for this age group.

Today's ACSC figures are presented alongside the monthly provisional Hospital Episode Statistics publication released today. This report provides new analysis that examines the scale of ACSC, seasonal trends and some patient demographics5 of those admitted to hospital for these conditions.

Provisional data for June 2013 to May 2014 shows:

  • There were 427,190 emergency admissions for ACSC, a fall of 2.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2012-13 (438,130).
  • About eight in ten ACSC cases were for either cardio-vascular disease (CVD) (40 per cent or 170,680) or respiratory disease (39 per cent or 164,860).
  • There were marked seasonal differences in admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)6 (a respiratory disease); these were highest in December (11 per cent, or 11,810 out of 110,560) and lowest in August (6.3 per cent or 7,020).
  • For angina six out of ten emergency admissions were male (60 per cent, or 30,720 out of 51,380) and for anaemia7 six out of ten were female (63 per cent, or 8,650 out of 13,690).
  • Hypertension8 emergency admissions were highest for those in their early fifties (10.1 per cent, or 871 out of 8,580) and late sixties (9.8 per cent, or 839).

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: "Today's report provides new focus on conditions that are usually manageable via primary care services but for some reason required hospitalisation.

The figures show seasonal trends for asthma and COPD emergency admissions. The gender and age differences pointed out in today's report offer insight into those hospitalised for a particular ACSC."

pdf icon Chart 1: Count of emergency admissions with a primary diagnosis of asthma by month from June 2006 to May 2014 [158kb] 

You can find the full report at  


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. Asthma is a common long-term condition that can cause a cough, wheezing, and breathlessness. The severity of the symptoms varies from person to person. Asthma can be controlled well in most people most of the time.

3. There are 11 ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC), these are: angina, asthma, artrial fibrillation, anaemia, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dementia, diabetes, hypertension, infections and neurological conditions. Wider definitions of each ACSC are provided in the report and are sourced from NHS Choices  

4. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest one decimal place. Figures over 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 10 in this press release and exact figures are shown in the report.

5. Patient demographics refers to the sex and age of patients.

6. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways, this is called airflow obstruction.

7. There are several different types of anaemia and each one has a different cause, although iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type. Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition where a lack of iron in the body leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 or B9 (commonly called folate) deficiency anaemia occurs when a lack of vitamin B12 or folate causes the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that cannot function properly.

8. Hypertension is high blood pressure and rarely has obvious symptoms. Around 30 per cent of people in England have high blood pressure, but many don't know it.If left untreated high blood pressure can increase risk of a heart attack or stroke.

9. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 303 3888.

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