Children in parts of Birmingham are three times more likely to be rushed to A&E suffering an acute asthma attack than those in some areas of Warwickshire, according to a report published today.
Figures by Asthma UK, to mark World Asthma Day, showed there were 67,077 admissions for asthma sufferers between April 2006 and March 2007, with more than 40 per cent (27,970) for children aged under 15.
It showed an eight-fold divide between primary care trusts across England, highlighting the lottery asthmatic children face in health services.
Emergency hospital admissions cost the NHS £61 million per year, yet three out of four admissions are avoidable through effective asthma management and routine care, which could save £46 million.
A child is admitted to hospital because of asthma every 16 minutes in the UK, the equivalent of 91 child admissions every day.
On top of the divide in admissions, there is a significant disparity between West Midlands PCTs.
Heart of Birmingham has the fourth highest emergency admissions in England (190), where children with asthma are almost three times more likely to have an emergency hospital admission than those in parts of Warwickshire, which has the lowest admissions in the region.
Other PCTs with above average admissions include Sandwell PCT (149), while Shropshire PCT had one of the lowest in the country (56).
Heart of Birmingham has made a commitment to reducing unnecessary admissions for childhood asthma, by developing a project where children are followed-up more effectively after an emergency hospital admission, co-funded by Asthma UK.
The North-west had the highest regional rate of emergency hospital admissions in England, with Liverpool PCT topping the list of individual trusts (292).
Children with asthma in Liverpool are eight times more likely to have an emergency hospital admission than those in Richmond & Twickenham PCT (51), which has the lowest emergency admissions.
Neil Churchill, chief executive of Asthma UK, said: "These divisions are unacceptable, particularly the staggering eight-fold difference in admissions in England. If asthma is not controlled effectively, the effects can be devastating and in some cases fatal, which is why reducing hospital admissions is a key aim for Asthma UK."