Under proposed NICE guidelines, general practitioners will have to carry out a series of assessments to ensure they have an objective asthma diagnosis.

The new draft guidelines completely bypass the option to carry out a trial of therapy as means to diagnose asthma – currently advised by the recently updated gold-standard SIGN/BTS guidelines on diagnosis – and will see GPs required to get extra tests to confirm a diagnosis.

These will include in some cases measurement of airways inflammation and hyper-reactivity – or ‘twitchiness’ – for which tests are currently not widely available, even in specialist services.