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Running your support group

How your Breathe Easy group can work with the NHS

Many groups have evolved with the assistance of a health care professional.

The level of their involvement varies dramatically from group to group, and although it can be beneficial, it's not essential.

The simplest way your group can start working with your local health services is to meet the local respiratory nurse or physiotherapist to talk about what you do.

Groups with a good relationship with a health care professional usually have more people joining the group and coming along to meetings.

You could invite health care professionals to your group meetings, but there's no need for them to attend them all.

A health care professional can help your group by providing:

  1. Expert advice and guidance to members.
  2. Referrals of new members to the group.
  3. Knowledge of specialists who may be guest speakers.

Health care professionals who have regular contact with a Breathe Easy group are also more likely to promote the group to the people they support, and to their colleagues in their clinics.

Another way of working with your local NHS is to ask if someone can attend pulmonary rehabilitation courses to promote your group and Asthma + Lung UK. This will also encourage those on the course to join the group.

Asking other health care professionals to give talks at the group can start to build up a network of people who are willing to support you. And they'll be more likely to think of the group for other involvement in the NHS, such as asking group members for feedback on local services, inviting group members to attend meetings etc.

Here are some ideas of who you could invite to your group:

  • Respiratory nurse
  • Respiratory physiotherapist
  • A respiratory consultant (remember to cover all conditions)
  • Dietician or nutritionist
  • GP with an interest in lung conditions
  • Pharmacist

If you'd like more support on working with health care professionals, get in touch with your group support officer.