Aim: To examine healthcare utilisation and the direct financial costs in providing medical care to a population of children aged 5-15 years with respiratory complaints. Secondarily, to assess whether these costs depended upon having specific asthma diagnosis or not.
Method: A postal respiratory questionnaire was sent to the parents or guardians of all children registered with two general practices. A search of the general practice medical records over a 2-year reference period was made for a stratified random sample and results are presented for 488 children aged 5-15 years.
Results: The cost of primary care tower respiratory tract consultations in children with 4-5 symptoms/risk factors was pound17.02 per patient per year for those with a previous diagnosis of asthma compared with pound6.08 per patient per year for those with the same number of symptoms but no diagnosis (t = -4.446, P<0.001). The cost of primary care lower respiratory consultations in those with no GP diagnosis of asthma and no symptoms/risk factors was pound2.25 per patient per year.
Conclusions: Studies, which fait to include the costs associated with treating children with respiratory symptoms but without a format diagnosis, will seriously underestimate the costs of treating asthmatic children. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- healthcare utilisation
- SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE
- ECONOMIC BURDEN