Table 4

Recommendations for healthcare education and clinical practice

EducationBroadly, understand cause and effect with respect to occupational disease and the effect of work on health; address these at all stages of training.
Appreciate the value of knowing about occupational and environmental exposures in respiratory disease, particularly why it may be beneficial to attribute causation to work, in terms of health and employment outcomes for workers. Contextualise the declarative knowledge of individual causes or relevant occupational exposures.
Challenge perceptions that OA is a ‘historical’ disease by teaching about novel causes and novel and prevalent exposures and surveillance systems.
Highlight the benefit of early diagnosis and referral to a specialist (where indicated) in terms of health and employment outcome; have a low threshold for suspecting OA.
Ensure that continuing professional development on OA reaches those who are seeing working-age individuals with asthma, that is, respiratory-oriented GPs, practice nurses and advanced nurse practitioners.
PracticePromote and make asthma OA guidance accessible, either specifically or within generic asthma guidelines.
Encourage dialogue between generalists and specialists on OA through mutual education and practice.
Collect data useful for identifying OA, for example, work-related symptoms, job roles and any changes in employment or role.
Review local policies and pathways to ensure there is a secure pathway for referral for investigation of OA and for specialist advice.
Incentivise healthcare professionals to make a diagnosis of OA by measuring health and employment outcomes rather than processes.
  • GP, general practitioner; OA, occupational asthma.