How I'm supporting the Taskforce in Parliament
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath explains why he’s backing the Taskforce for Lung Health’s plan
I worked in the NHS before I joined the House of Lords and have also been a health minister, so I’m really passionate about improving health care. I try to use my role to champion important and often under-prioritised health issues.
Earlier this year, I learnt about the Taskforce for Lung Health and the work they’re doing to improve care and treatment for people with lung disease.
There’s never been a plan for lung health before
I was surprised to learn that despite how common lung disease is, and the poor outcomes associated with it, there has never been a comprehensive national plan for lung health before.
That’s why I was pleased to ask the Government about its plans to implement the Taskforce’s recommendations.
The government told us their plans
Baroness Blackwood, the minister at the Department of Health, told us that the government is committed to making improvements in lung health. She highlighted how the Taskforce, the government and NHS England have worked closely together on the NHS Long Term Plan respiratory programme and that they’d continue to do so.
It’s really important that the government continues to work with the Taskforce to help improve life for everyone with lung disease.
Baroness Blackwood also said that the upcoming prevention strategy will give us a better picture of how the government plans to help keep people’s lungs healthy in the first place.
Peers from different political parties asked questions
Peers from different political parties joined me to ask about different aspects of lung health.
There were questions on all sorts of things: from funding for smoking cessation services, to protecting people from the effects of air pollution and research into new technology that can help manage lung disease, like smart inhalers.
There was also a question on whether the Government would consider introducing targeted case-finding for COPD – that means GPs searching through patient records for people who have symptoms suggesting they might have COPD, such as frequently getting chest infections.
We need to improve access to exercise classes
I’m particularly interested in how we can promote exercise classes like pulmonary rehabilitation for people with lung disease. At the moment, people’s access to this treatment can vary depending on where you live and that’s not right.
These are all recommendations in the Taskforce’s plan. If it’s rolled out, the plan will bring about real change for the millions of people living with a lung condition. It’s also backed by the whole respiratory community – from charities, to royal colleges, to people living with lung disease.
Lung disease must be more of a priority
It’s vital that we shout about lung disease as much as possible in parliament. It simply must become more of a priority for decision-makers. I know that the Taskforce will be pushing for its recommendations to be put into action. And I’ll continue to do what I can to support the Taskforce in parliament so that people living with a lung condition and their families get the care they need.