Launching Wales' respiratory health plan
Matthew Collins explains how we're shaping the future of lung health in Wales.
It's been a long time coming, but on Tuesday we finally got to witness the launch of Wales’s first ever national plan for respiratory services – 'Together for Health: A Respiratory Health Delivery Plan for Wales’.
We’ve been campaigning for this ever since the Together for Health strategy was announced in 2011. We want equity for respiratory services, and now Wales has the document to help make it happen!
Our event at the assembly showcased the tremendous pockets of work that already go on within the Welsh NHS - enough to attract a crowd in itself - as well as the added zing of the unveiling of the first national plan for respiratory services.
Health professionals joined us for this action packed afternoon in the Senedd, including consultants, GPs, physios, pharmacists, nurses, OTs, exercise instructors, technicians, senior civil servants, health board directors, public health workers, third sector partners, researchers, patients, and 22 assembly members.
It’s protocol in the assembly that each event has a host member, and ours was Rebecca Evans, member for Mid and West Wales. Rebecca has been really supportive to the BLF, including visiting her local Breathe Easy support group in Carmarthen to find out how they support people with lung disease in the community.
Excitingly, referral into support groups such as Breathe Easy is one of the target actions in the plan. In her speech, Rebecca said that she wanted all people with respiratory disease in Wales to be able to say their care is good.
What the plan means
- Reducing the prevalence of tobacco consumption to 16 per cent in Wales by 2020
- Ensuring that people with suspected lung disease receive an accurate and early diagnosis
- Providing, where appropriate, services in the community and closer to home
- Enabling people to take better control of their condition through providing appropriate and relevant information about their lung condition, as well as developing essential pulmonary rehabilitation programmes
- Supplying people with an agreed self-management plan to help keep them in control and out of hospital
Steven Wibberley, the BLF's Director of Operations and Innovations, also took to the stage, welcoming the plan. He discussed the pertinence of the plan to our own priorities - from campaigning to protect people from the effects of tobacco to supporting people with conditions such as COPD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Professor Mark Drakeford AM, the Minister for Health and Social Services, officially launched the plan and declared that it now becomes a ‘living document’. He said that in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients with a respiratory condition they need to be fully involved in their care, and that patient education and co-production of personalised care needs to be part of the patient’s care pathway.
The future of lung health in Wales is now in our hands. Working together we can all ensure that the steps toward better lung health in Wales are implemented by using this plan as a driving force for change!