17 July 2023

A new report showcases the impact of a programme to improve access in the North West Coast to a simple test for asthma diagnosis.

The Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide, or FeNO, tests are non-invasive and measure the amount of nitric oxide in an exhaled breath, which is a biomarker for airway inflammation.

FeNO testing can improve patient care by delivering a faster and more effective asthma diagnosis, when viewed alongside a patient’s clinical history, and can be used to monitor an individual’s response to treatment.

Health Innovation North West Coast supported the testing of thousands of individuals in primary care settings in Lancashire, south Cumbria, Cheshire and Merseyside during the two-year programme.

And the programme enabled 1,829 people in the region to benefit from a more accurate and faster diagnosis of asthma.

Health Innovation North West Coast’s Clinical Director Andrew Cooper said: “Asthma can be a very debilitating condition, so we’re pleased to have played our part in ensuring a faster and more accurate diagnosis for many patients.

“We worked hard with our colleagues in primary care to make sure the test was available to as many people as possible. It’s great that the collaboration has had such a tangible impact.”

The programme was delivered nationally by the Innovation Agency and our partner Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs). Around 58,000 new asthmatics received a faster and more accurate diagnosis because of FeNO testing, while 1,200 FeNO devices were introduced into primary care use in England.

The programme, led by Wessex AHSN, saw AHSNs work with their systems to support asthma pathway improvements by providing specialist implementation support and clinical leadership, sharing best practice and developing supporting materials for those involved in asthma care.

A FeNO implementation toolkit, which provided practical advice and support for teams adopting FeNO testing, was viewed more than 13,500 times and remains available for NHS staff.

Joe Sladen, Associate Director Innovation Adoption and FeNO lead, Wessex AHSN, said: “The national FeNO programme has had a significant impact on improving access to FeNO testing across England, enabling more patients to benefit from a faster and more accurate asthma diagnosis. We’re excited to share our end of programme report and showcase our impact, learnings and overall reflections with our NHS colleagues, industry partners and patients.”

AHSNs in England supported the adoption and spread of FeNO under the NHS England Accelerated Access Collaborative’s (AAC) Rapid Uptake Products Programme.

Read the FeNO programme impact report on the Wessex AHSN website:

Emma Thompson, from Aldershot in Hampshire, shared her experience of severe asthma in support of the programme. You can watch Emma’s story here:


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