Patients should expect their doctors to be up to date, and to follow these agreed policies. According to the British National Asthma Campaign’s manifesto, trained professionals should review the way an individual’s asthma is managed at least once a year. Often, doctors or asthma nurses will want to do this even more often.
In the UK, your treatment may be shared between your doctor and the practice nurse. If this is the case, the practice nurse should have received specialist training.
Individual doctors have very different styles. Some ‘caring, sharing’ types discuss everything with you, while others take a more paternalistic approach and expect you to expect them to be doing their best.
It may be that doctors in this second group are just as up-to-date as the ‘caring, sharing’ ones. The only way you can find out is by asking them questions about what measures you can take to prevent asthma attacks. Your doctor should also be able to help you to identify possible triggers.
In the UK, family doctors are given extra payments for setting up asthma clinics -special sessions where all their patients have asthma. Nevertheless, if your doctor runs a clinic the chances are that he or she has a special interest and expertise in asthma.
If your doctor is not interested in your condition, you can now sign on with a new family doctor, without having to give an explanation to your old one, provided that the new doctor agrees to take you on. If you want to find a doctor with a special interest in asthma and you live in the UK, you could ask your nearest National Asthma Campaign branch whether they know of one locally.