Intended for healthcare professionals


Greenwich asthma study

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 26 February 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:580

Study's conclusions are premature

  1. Gene Feder, senior lecturer,
  2. Chris Griffiths, senior lecturer (,
  3. Gill Foster, research assistant,
  4. Shamoly Ahmed, research assistant,
  5. Dorcas Maclaren, researcher,
  6. Yvonne Carter, professor of general practice
  1. Department of General Practice and Primary Care, St Bartholomew's and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London E1 4NS
  2. Bexley and Greenwich Health Authority, Bexleyheath, Kent DA7 6HZ
  3. Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PN
  4. Department of Public Health Sciences, King's College London, London SE1 3QD
  5. Institute of Respiratory Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
  6. Greenwich District Hospital, London SE10 9HE

    EDITOR—Premaratne et al amassed an impressive amount of data in the Greenwich asthma study,1 but their outcome measures were unlikely to be able to detect an effect of their intervention. We think that they may have had an unreal expectation of the impact of the intervention in primary care, perhaps reflecting the absence of primary care researchers in the study team.

    Designing large scale studies to test guidelines and educational interventions is not easy, particularly in inner city general practice.2 When testing whether nurses improve the care of patients with asthma in general practice, appropriate primary outcomes are measures of asthma control and health service use in the patients who consulted with the nurses rather than in the wider population of asthmatic patients. To judge the efficacy of the study nurses on their lack of effect on patients they did not see seems harsh, although asking asthmatic patients to attend review sessions is arguably part of their role. Though the mean square root of quality of life of the total asthmatic population is clearly an important (secondary) outcome, its importance …

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