Lung health in the spotlight like never before
The lung health world received some very exciting news this week. It’s just been confirmed that for the first time lung health is going to be in the spotlight in the new 10-year plan for the NHS.
What this will mean is that respiratory disease will become a clinical priority area (alongside cardiovascular disease), one of only four priority workstreams, as well as cancer, mental health and learning disabilities. This is fantastic news for patients and the new prioritisation of lung health will help drive improvements in treatment and care in a way that we haven’t seen before.
The plan will be prepared over the next few months with decisions on what will be included expected to be made by November. This isn’t a long time, but we are prepared. All of us on the Taskforce for Lung Health have been focussed over the last year on deciding what we would put in a plan, backed up by solid evidence. We are in great shape to advise.
The prime minister has said that she is willing to invest money in the plan, and Professor Steve Powis, the National Medical Director, is reaching out to involve us in setting the direction. We have already been feeding in emerging recommendations from the Taskforce for Lung Health report and are expecting there to be considerable overlap between the two plans.
We can expect to see improvements in diagnosis and treatment to bring our respiratory health service in line with the best in the world.
Life expectancy and quality of life for lung patients in England is poor. We have not seen much improvement in the last 10 years compared with other diseases and other countries yet we are already spending £10 billion a year. We can and must do better.
We need to see faster and more accurate diagnosis and effective care and treatment no matter where people live in the country. This means a bold plan. The Taskforce for Lung Health are ready to work with NHS England and support them to deliver some radical changes, that will transform care and provide hope for the 12 million people in the UK living with a lung condition.
I’m proud of the role that British Lung Foundation has played in setting up the Taskforce on behalf of all people with lung disease and so pleased that we have got the timing right as the doors at NHS England open. And most of all, I’m grateful to all the members of the Taskforce for their time and expertise in developing the best possible plan for lung health