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Asthma in Ireland

Asthma in Ireland

Ireland has one of the highest rates of asthma prevalence in the world. It is the most common chronic disease affecting children, and the most common chronic respiratory disease in adults. It may affect a person all their lives, but it can be managed so effectively that a person has a high quality of life and health.  However, many people with asthma live and work with avoidable asthma illness, due to having uncontrolled disease.  This is despite the availability of excellent national and international evidenced-based guidelines and effective, accessible and safe medicines.


Estimated Burden of Asthma in Republic of Ireland, 2011
Deaths from asthma62
No. of asthma discharges from Intensive Care Unit (ICU)100
No. of asthma inpatient discharges (HIPE 2011)3,322
No. of attendances in ED due to asthma20,000
No. of attendances to OOH GP service with uncontrolled asthma50,000
No. of people with uncontrolled asthma240,000 (54%)
No. of people in ROI with doctor diagnosed asthma450,000


The Asthma Programme has developed a Model of Care (MOC) based on best international practice.  Implementation of the MOC recommendations can be expected to improve health and quality of life as has occurred following 10 years of implementation of the Finnish Asthma Programme.  The National Clinical Programme for Asthma (NCPA) will be able to monitor its progress through examination of data such as inpatient hospital data from the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (HIPE) system. 

Importance of good asthma control

Uncontrolled asthma leads to:

  • A reduction in quality of life for the person
  • Disruption for their families
  • Costs of healthcare for the person, their family and for the health service (increased out of hours GP visits, emergency department visits, hospitalisation for acute asthma)
  • Loss of time from work (and maybe loss of income) – estimate of twelve working days per annum for adults
  • Loss of time from school – approximately ten days per year, and maybe loss of further educational opportunities
  • Risk of death – there is 1 death per week from asthma in Ireland.

Click here for more information on resources available for healthcare professionals and patients.

Clinical Strategy and Programmes Division