Press Release – January 2017

UK Inhaler Group publishes Inhaler Standards and Competency Document

pdfInhaler Standards and Competency Document

Using an inhaler is the most common and effective way to take respiratory medications and remains the cornerstone for treating airways diseases such as asthma and COPD.
The advantage of the inhaled route for delivery of these medicines is that they are delivered directly into the airways and therefore minimalizing any potential side effects.

Concerned that people are still unable to use their devices and that many health care professionals are unable to assist people effectively in optimising their technique, The UK Inhaler Group (UKIG) has developed standards and competencies for those prescribing inhaled medications. The standards set out how healthcare professionals can work with patients to optimise their technique and maximise the benefit of their medication.

Jane Scullion Respiratory Nurse Consultant University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and lead author of the Standards document, on behalf of UKIG, said: "Correct inhaler use is fundamental to improving outcomes in asthma and COPD. Know it, show it, teach it and review.”

Monica Fletcher, Chair of UKIG and CEO of Education for Health, which offers training for HCPs in inhaler technique said: “A study by the Asthma UK Centre in Applied Research found that of the £1.1 billion cost of treating asthma in the UK, at least £666 million is spent on prescription costs each year. Yet a survey conducted by Asthma UK in 2016 found that up to a third of people with asthma aren't using their inhalers correctly.

“Similar numbers of HCPS also struggle to use inhalers, demonstrating that many who prescribe and teach techniques are also getting it wrong.

“Inhalers taken correctly save lives, but inhalers taking incorrectly will inevitably be less efficient and could be life threatening.”

Dr Duncan Keeley, GP in Thame, Policy lead for Primary Care Respiratory Society UK added: “As clinicians we are responsible for ensuring patients receive the most appropriate medication and prescribing medicines is an important aspect of our daily work. Yet we sometimes miss the obvious. If patients don’t know how to use their inhalers, they won’t benefit from them as we intend them to. This is something we need to address and revisit to ensure patients get the maximum benefit from their treatment.”

UKIG Inhaler Standards and Competencies Document is available for download at

Information for editors:

Lead authors: Jane Scullion Respiratory Nurse Consultant University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, UK Inhaler Group and Monica Fletcher CEO Education for Health, Warwick. Chair of the UK Inhaler Group are available for interview.

Please contact Jules Gaughan, Project Manager, UK Inhaler Group This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +44 (0)7817398351


Choosing an appropriate inhaler device for the treatment of adults with asthma or COPD

This management algorithm was developed by a multidisciplinary expert panel: Usmani et al with the support of a grant from Chiesi Ltd.

Expert Panel: Dr Omar Usmani (Chair, respiratory consultant), Dr Toby Capstick (lead respiratory pharmacist), Dr Hasan Chowhan (general practitioner), and Jane Scullion (respiratory nurse consultant)

pdfMCP-Guidelines inhaler device choice algorithm

guidance paper

Is the ‘blue’ colour convention for inhaled reliever medications important?
A UK-based survey of healthcare professionals and patients with airways disease

Monica Fletcher, Jane Scullion, John White, Bronwen Thompson and Toby Capstick

click here to download this paper

inhaler paper

Fletcher, M., Scullion, J., White, J., Thompson, B. & Capstick, T. Is the ‘blue’ colour convention for inhaled reliever medications important? A UK based survey of healthcare professionals and patients with airways disease.npj Prim. Care Respir. Med.26,16081 (2016).
pdfThe West Leicestershire Respiratory Upskilling Programme

"As a GP with an interest in respiratory disease the opportunity to put together a training programme for local GPs and practice nurses in WLCCG was very exciting. With the support of my wonderful secondary care colleagues, Jane Scullion and Anna Murphy, we designed a 4 module evening training programme with an end of course assessment. This was taken up really well by local practices and the feedback was excellent. I believe we have stimulated and encouraged local clinician interest in respiratory disease, an often neglected area. I would encourage any CCG to run with this programme to drive up knowledge and skills for clinicians in their areas."

Dr Darren P Jackson

GP Barwell & Hollycroft Medical Centres

GP Locality Co-Chair Hinckley & Bosworth, West Leicestershire CCG

Clinical Responsible Officer, Long Term Condition, Better Care Together LLR              

                                                                   Top Ten Tips

Aimed at the busy GP, the Top Ten Tips are, as they say, ten tips on one side of A4 to help improve different areas of respiratory care. This one-side is then supplemented with additional information around each of the 10 tips.

Ranging from a five-year plan to an Asthma Patient Consultation, they are available below by clicking read more.

If you have any suggestions on future Top Ten Tips we could produce, contact us


Read more ...

Education Links & videos
Simple Steps Education: 

There are numerous training providers, offering a wide range of education and training resources to support the up-skilling of clinical teams. 

The team here at the East Midlands Respiratory Programme are working at identifying and collating these different training options onto this site, to make finding the appropriate training easier & quicker. We've put a few respiratory training providers below whilst we collate this information. 

If you'd like advice in the mean time on what training and support is available, or what options we'd recommend, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COPD Exchange:
Education for Health:
Healthcare Education Services:
Primary Care Training:
REAL Respiratory Clinic:
Respiratory Education UK:
Simple Steps Education:
Skills for Health: