§ Annette Brooke
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if his Department will ask primary care trusts to introduce enquiries into asthma deaths as a matter of course; 
(2) what plans his Department has to introduce confidential enquiries into asthma deaths as a means of research into prevention and cure of this condition. 
§ Jacqui Smith
There are currently no plans to require primary care trusts to introduce enquiries into asthma deaths or to extend the range of confidential enquiries to include asthma deaths.
Management of asthma mainly takes place in primary care. The chronic disease management programme, introduced in July 1993, provides arrangements for health promotion under the general medical services national contract for general practitioners. People with asthma will also benefit from the emerging expert patients programme which will—via the National Health Service—provide training in self-management skills for people with long term chronic conditions.
The Medical Research Council, which is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, funds medical research as part of the Government's funding of the research base. The Department of Health spend on directly commissioned research projects on asthma since 1997 is an estimated £7.24 million.
The number of deaths from asthma is gradually declining. The Office of National Statistics report that the International Classification of Disease, ICD9 493 (Asthma) recorded for England and Wales that in 1998 there were 1366 deaths caused by asthma and by 2000 that had fallen to 1272 deaths.