Your asthma healthcare team

Find out how doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals can help you manage your asthma well

We’ve heard from some people with asthma that they’re having trouble accessing the GP services they need.

Call our Helpline team for advice and support on 0300 222 5800, 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri (excluding Bank Holidays).

Or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728.

For ideas on how you can work in partnership with your healthcare team, see our information on getting the best from the NHS.

GP (general practitioner)

GPs (local doctors) are trained to diagnose and treat all common health conditions.

They can also help you with your overall health and wellbeing, for example by referring you to stop smoking services, weight loss groups, or counselling.

To make an appointment with a GP, you first need to register at their practice. Most GP surgeries offer face-to-face, telephone and video call appointments, although there may be some changes due to coronavirus.

Your GP can help you with things like:

  • getting a diagnosis 
  • learning how to manage your asthma 
  • getting asthma treatments and understanding how to use them 
  • keeping your asthma action plan up to date so that you know what to do if symptoms get worse or you have an asthma attack 
  • reviewing your asthma at least once a year  
  • managing worsening asthma symptoms.

When more specialist help is needed, GPs refer patients to specialists in hospitals and other health services.

Practice nurse and asthma nurse

You may see a practice nurse at the GP surgery. Some practice nurses have training in the treatment and management of asthma.

The practice nurse or an asthma nurse can help you with things like:

  • taking the right medicines 
  • how to use your asthma inhaler correctly 
  • keeping your asthma action plan up to date 
  • reviewing your asthma each year (or more often if needed).


Pharmacists are medical professionals trained in all aspects of medicines and how to use them. They can also offer advice on managing minor illnesses and general health and wellbeing.

Your pharmacist can:

  • provide the medicines or inhalers you’re prescribed 
  • give advice on how to use your medicines and inhalers 
  • recommend over-the-counter medicines, like anti-histamines for hay fever 
  • check that any new medicines you’re taking are working well for you 
  • give stopping smoking advice and weight management support 
  • give flu and other vaccinations.

You’ll find pharmacists on the high street, and in some larger supermarkets, and in hospitals. You can chat to them without making an appointment, and most have a private room.

Some pharmacists are based in GP surgeries, working alongside GPs and practice nurses. They can support patients managing long-term conditions like asthma, and may give advice if you’re taking lots of different medicines for different conditions.

Many pharmacies offer a prescription delivery service to some or all patients. Check with your pharmacy.

School nurse

A school nurse is a trained nurse who works with school-aged children and young people to improve their health and wellbeing. They often work in a few different schools and health centres in the area.

School nurses may help children with asthma and their families by:

  • helping children to manage their asthma in school 
  • talking to children and their parents or carers about managing asthma
  • knowing your child’s asthma action plan  
  • letting others in the school know how they can help.

If you’re not sure how to get in touch with the school nurse, ask a teacher or the school reception. 

Respiratory specialist (hospital consultant)

Respiratory specialists are doctors who specialise in treating people with breathing conditions such as asthma.

They’re usually based in hospital settings, including outpatient clinics.

You may see a respiratory specialist if:

  • your asthma is difficult to manage or severe
  • you have frequent asthma attacks
  • the usual asthma treatments aren’t working for you
  • you’re in hospital to treat an asthma attack.

The respiratory specialist can do tests and make recommendations for how your asthma can be better controlled.

Your GP may refer you to a respiratory specialist, usually as an outpatient at your local hospital. 

Respiratory physiologist

Respiratory physiologists use special medical equipment to test and measure your breathing.

They can also:

  • carry out allergy tests 
  • measure levels of oxygen and other gases in your blood 
  • do exercise tests with you 
  • carry out a ‘fitness to fly assessment’ if your GP or asthma nurse thinks your asthma could worsen when you’re travelling by air.

You may see a respiratory physiologist to have tests if your respiratory specialist, doctor, or nurse recommends these.

Respiratory physiotherapist

Respiratory physiotherapists have physiotherapy training and extra training on treating lung and breathing conditions, including asthma.

They’re usually based in hospital clinics.

A respiratory physiotherapist can help you by:

  • assessing your breathing, including its pattern  
  • advising you on how to be more physically active and improve your ability to exercise 
  • teaching you breathing exercises to reduce breathlessness and the effort needed to breathe 
  • helping you to loosen and cough up excess mucus.

Your GP can refer you to a respiratory physiotherapist. 

Paediatric asthma nurses (child asthma nurses)

Paediatric (child) asthma nurses have training and experience working with children with asthma. They work at childhood asthma clinics. They also work in the community, visiting GP surgeries and schools, and doing home visits. Paediatric asthma nurses work closely with other people involved in your child’s asthma care too.

They can help children with asthma and their parents and carers by giving advice and support on managing asthma. Sometimes they offer home or school visits. These allow them to see first-hand how asthma affects your child.

Your GP, practice nurse, school nurse, hospital consultant or another healthcare professional can refer your child to a paediatric asthma nurse.

Clinical psychologist

Clinical psychologists are trained to assess people’s psychology (mindset and ways of thinking). They also provide advice on different thought patterns that could help to manage symptoms. You might see them on your own or in a family or group session.

They’re often based in hospitals and sometimes in local clinics, and schools.

A clinical psychologist can support you with common mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, which can make dealing with asthma symptoms harder.

Your GP or respiratory team can refer you to a clinical psychologist.


A dietitian is trained in nutrition and can provide advice on food choices. They can also recommend dietary changes for people with food allergies and those who want to lose weight.

A dietitian can help you:

Your GP can refer you to a dietitian.

Advisors at NHS stop smoking services

Advisors at NHS stop smoking services are trained to help you stop smoking, and support you in the first few weeks after you stop. They can also talk to you about how medications can help you to stop smoking.

You can contact your local NHS stop smoking service directly to make an appointment with an advisor. You can also ask your GP to refer you.

Many pharmacies offer support with stopping smoking too.

Get support

Call our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello.

Did you find this information useful?

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 0300 222 5800 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

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