A plan to improve lung health right across England

We've come together to improve lung health in England. Read about our five year plan. 

Taskforce report

I’m Alison and head up communications, public affairs and policy at the British Lung Foundation. For almost a year, I’ve been co-chairing the Taskforce for Lung Health. We are a group of experts including people living with a lung condition, health care professionals, charities and professional organisations.

We’ve come together to improve lung health in England. We’ve have used our combined expertise to write a first-of-its-kind five year plan for preventing lung disease and improving lung health.

Lung health has been overlooked for decades

This marks the largest ever group of organisations and individuals who have come together to address this issue.

The work we’ve done is so important because lung health has been overlooked for decades. Many other disease areas, including heart disease, mental health and cancer, have benefited from funding and strategies to improve patient outcomes. Lung health has never been given the same level of attention, and so progress has lagged far behind where it should be.

Specific and achievable changes

Today, we’re launching our plan. It sets out specific and achievable policy changes which would make a real difference to people with lung disease. The plan covers how to stop people getting lung disease in the first place, as well as all of the steps people might go through, from diagnosis through to treatment, care, living with a lung disease, and end-of-life. The Taskforce has also recommended ways to make sure we have the right workforce in place to deliver the quality care lung disease patients deserve.

To help the 1 in 5 people living with a lung disease, we’ve highlighted the need for:

  • Earlier and more accurate diagnosis of lung disease to improve survival rates
  • A clear pathway for patients to follow to receive a diagnosis and to start treatment or agree a care plan, within the same timeframes currently offered to cancer patients
  • General practice to pro-actively find people who may have COPD
  • A lung cancer screening programme to try to identify people with lung cancer at an early stage

A roadmap for better treatment

This plan will bring together, in one place, a set of recommendations which the whole respiratory community supports. In this way, it’s a roadmap for better treatment, care, support and outcomes for lung disease patients, and a set of recommendations which all Taskforce members can campaign for.

The report was formed by looking at evidence from patients, health care professionals, researchers and other experts. The Taskforce then discussed which recommendations would have the biggest impact on patients, and these are what appear in the report.

This is an important moment for lung health in England. With this plan, we can improve the lives of everyone affected by lung disease. 

Read our five year plan now


It would be beneficial that if you have routine chest xrays that you are told if you have copd, I had a routine chest x-ray in 2009 and empyhsema was clearly present but because it wasn't what my Dr was looking for I wasn't told, I did however have another chest x-ray in 2015 and was told I have severe emphysema, had I have known I could of stopped smoking alot earlier and slowed things down, I believe that if it was cancer I still wouldn't of been told and not here writing this. So I strongly believe if the radiologist see anything of concern they should raise it with the Dr who requested so they could tell people and get them the help they need
Struggling to breathe is frightening.  Apart from not knowing about any advancement in medication which I would like information about, the one single thing that has helped to improve my breathing and quality of life has been attending pulmonary rehabilitation courses. I have been to two several years apart. There is always a long waiting list due to lack of funding and facilities - so many more people with lung disease could benefit from the opportunity to attend such courses. 
As a former patient and semi-current out-patient at Worcester acute hospital five years ago when an unprofessional care assistant came into my home with a very bad chest cold and I caught her symptoms of the same cold but I developed pneumonia and a claps right lung and I was rush into the ICU unit at Worcester acute hospitals and was given the best level of treatment from Worcester hospital although they were rushed off their feet with minimal staffing levels on duty, if the care assistant and the other nursing staff in the community were to sign up to have the free flu jab I wouldn't have been put in that situation and I would not have met Sarah Austin and Emma Hurst from Worcester acute hospital to be given me my life back is worth fighting for although I have been given a second chance in life to wearing a mask in bed is breathing the cold air towards my husband back , i'm alive .

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28 November 2018