Barriers to the identification of occupational asthma

Walters, Gareth Iestyn (2015). Barriers to the identification of occupational asthma. University of Birmingham. M.D.


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Occupational asthma (OA) is associated with an estimated annual societal cost in the UK of £100 million, which is avoidable if workers are identified quickly and removed from exposure to a sensitizing agent. The aim of this work was to identify barriers to diagnosing OA on the part of workers and healthcare professionals. The first study evaluated current practice in assessing working-age asthmatics for OA in a West Midlands primary care population. There was poor enquiry regarding occupation (14% of cases) and the effect of work on asthma symptoms (2%). The second study used qualitative methodology to explore beliefs and behaviours in symptomatic workers. Major influences on workers’ health seeking behavior were (1) understanding of their symptoms, (2) working relationships, (3) course of action with symptoms and (4) negotiation with healthcare professionals. The third study defined the important barriers from the point of view of healthcare professionals. Low awareness and adherence to OA guidelines was evident in all non-specialist groups. The fourth study evaluated the feasibility of introducing an electronic OA screening-tool for primary care. Healthcare professionals who used the tool found it to be quick and easy to implement and user-friendly, without impacting on the length of a consultation.

Type of Work: Thesis (Higher Doctorates > M.D.)
Award Type: Higher Doctorates > M.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
School or Department: School of Health and Population Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine


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