Campaigning for healthy lungs in Northern Ireland

Our manifesto for the Northern Ireland Assembly elections could transform the lives of people living across the country.

We want the new Executive to support us in helping those living with a lung condition, and everyone at risk.

We ask that the new Executive will:

Support the creation of an all party group on respiratory health

Right now, the Northern Ireland Assembly has several all party groups which meet to discuss a wide range of health conditions including cancer, congenital heart disease and diabetes.

Creating an all party group for respiratory health would allow for discussion of the prevention, care and treatment of respiratory health between MLAs, people affected by lung conditions, third sector organisations and health care professionals.

Create a detailed plan for air quality in Northern Ireland

Across the UK, 40,000 people die prematurely as a result of poor air quality each year. Given the danger that poor air quality poses to lung health, can Northern Ireland afford to be the only region without a plan to improve it?

Poor air quality contributes to lung conditions, with the very old and very young especially vulnerable. Children living in areas with high air pollution are shown to be 5 times more likely to have poor lung development, and increased susceptibility to respiratory infection.

The Northern Ireland Executive acknowledges the dangers of poor air quality and monitors air quality levels, but this is not enough. We want to be confident that future generations will breathe clean air.

We ask the Executive to create a plan detailing how they will keep Northern Ireland’s air clean for years to come.

Go beyond current practice

In 2012-2013, there were more than 10,000 hospital admissions for people with lung conditions in Northern Ireland. Given the number of people affected by poor lung health across the region, we must adopt new ways of working.

Research shows that the third sector plays an invaluable role in providing solutions and support. We call upon the new Executive to better integrate the third sector in the provision of health and social care.

The new Executive should ensure that local support services promote self-management and admission avoidance, improving quality of life.

Provide evidence that targets for respiratory health and wellbeing are being met

In September 2015, the Service Framework for Respiratory Health and Wellbeing was updated. We welcome the Framework and these updates, especially the aim to decrease smoking levels by 2% each year. But we want this to go further.

We call upon the new Executive to regularly report on smoking levels, noting whether or not these levels are decreasing. The people of Northern Ireland have a right to know if, and when, smoking will be on the way out.

We're the only charity looking after Northern Ireland’s lungs. We want to make sure that one day, everyone will breathe clean air with healthy lungs, and we need your support to make that happen.

If you've got any questions about our manifesto for the Northern Ireland Assembly elections, please get in touch.