BLF in parliament for COPD

Mike attends parliament to talk about caring for someone with COPD.

Mike Heaphy speaks with MPs about COPD

Back in February, I was invited to speak at Westminster as part of an inquiry into respiratory deaths. My first reaction was one of confusion. The very thought of speaking in parliament was beyond my imagination! But, after being given lots of reassurance and having my confidence boosted by the team at the BLF, I decided to go ahead.

I looked after my wife, who sadly passed away from a lung condition. So I was asked to be a witness and give evidence from a carers point of view to the inquiry, which was being conducted by a group of parliamentarians otherwise known as the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Respiratory Health.

Westminster welcome

When I arrived at Westminster, I was made most welcome and taken through the agenda for the meeting and what to expect. I found the atmosphere very friendly and I was introduced to the members of parliament, including Andrew Selous my local MP.

When the meeting started I was asked to speak first, which did not help the old nerves! I decided to read my story as I was sure that I would hesitate at times. I knew that I was reliving the reality of my many years caring for my late wife and seeing her suffer.

As soon as I was finished I felt confident that I had done the right thing. I was really thankful to the members of parliament, the BLF, other speakers and invited guests for their attention and understanding during my story.

The big launch

At the end of June, I was invited to the launch of the report on the inquiry into respiratory deaths. I was very grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this very important and essential launch.

The report called for better access to pulmonary rehabilitation, more investment into research into lung disease and for more action to be taken to diagnose people who may have COPD earlier.

I was very impressed with the speakers and their involvement in the BLF’s health issues. Penny was resolute in her speech; she made it clear that the BLF would continue to seek improvements in all aspects of respiratory health for people who live with various lung conditions.

One of the things I wanted to share with them was about smoking. It is the most common cause of most breathing conditions and it seems to me that young people are smoking more than the elderly – you see them coming out of school and lighting up straight away.

It’s difficult to get through to them that in the future their health will suffer. There are many other COPD patients and carers out there who need constant help. I hope the government will take note of everything that the APPG inquiry calls for and act on preventing early deaths from COPD.

Download the full report from the APPG inquiry into respiratory deaths to find out more about the key recommendations being called for from the government.


Comments

Hi Pauline, You can call our helpline on 03000 030 555. They've got respiratory nurses and benefits advisers who can talk to you about your needs. I hope this helps, Kevin, BLF
i suffer with copd i dont get much help only from my husband he does most things for me he does not get carers allowance but i get low care componant any adviseplease

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17 July 2014