Questions you might ask about the Taskforce

Why is a Taskforce for Lung Health needed?

Alongside heart disease and non-respiratory cancer, lung disease is one of the UK’s three biggest killers. And while mortality from heart disease and many non-respiratory cancers is falling, the number of people killed each year by lung disease is staying the same.

There are some good quality and effective services in England, but we lag behind other European countries and not enough progress is being made, quickly enough. We believe more can, and should, be done to improve lung health.

The Taskforce brings together the most influential voices in lung health from across the country to unite behind a single five year plan for the improvements needed from prevention right through to end-of-life care.

Is the Taskforce independent of government?

Yes, the group is independent of government. NHS Rightcare, a NHS England supported programme, is a member of the Taskforce, providing their expertise about delivering the best care to patients, making NHS money go as far as possible and improving patient outcomes. 

What is the objective of the Taskforce?

The initial objective of the Taskforce was to develop a five year plan for improving lung health in England, endorsed by the whole respiratory community. The plan looks at prevention, diagnosis, treatment and medicines, living with a lung disease and end-of-life care, and come up with recommendations about each topic.

What is the key change that the Taskforce wants to see happen?

We want our plan for improving lung health across all services to be implemented in full by all relevant bodies, including NHS England, Public Health England and local authorities.

How is this Taskforce different from anything that has existed previously?

More representatives than ever before, from across the respiratory community, are teaming up to understand how to improve lung health. That’s different to anything that has existed before. The five year plan looks across all areas of lung health and includes the most up-to-date best practice evidence from across the UK. This has not previously been available in one place.

How are patients involved in the Taskforce?

There are three people representing those living with a lung condition on the Taskforce, and one person representing carers. Taskforce member organisations, including Asthma UK, British Lung Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Roy Castle Lung Foundation, represent and work regularly with people affected by lung disease.

What is the British Lung Foundation's role in the Taskforce?

The British Lung Foundation holds the secretariat for the Taskforce, employs a policy and project manager to oversee delivery of the project, and hosts the Taskforce web pages. The BLF also sits on the Taskforce as a member in its own right. The Taskforce is owned by the members and not the BLF.

How is the pharmaceutical industry involved?

An Industries Forum with representatives from 11 pharmaceutical companies has been established. This group provides evidence, data and input to the work of the Taskforce. Eight members of the Industries Forum have provided financial backing to the Taskforce in its first year.

Does lung disease just affect smokers?

Anyone can get lung disease. Smoking is a major risk factor. Never smoking is the biggest thing we can all do to keep our lungs healthy. Poor air quality, workplace dusts and chemicals, and genetic susceptibility can also cause lung disease. But in some cases, there’s no clear cause. No matter what the cause, it’s important that everyone gets the treatment and support they need.