Making lung health a priority for the next government
Last week we launched an open letter to the next prime minister to make lung health a priority. Jess from our policy team explains why.
In less than a month, we’ll have a new government. The next few weeks give us the chance to demand that the incoming prime minister takes lung health seriously.
Despite affecting 1 in 5 of us, lung disease doesn’t get the priority it deserves.
It’s a sad fact that quality of life for people with a lung condition is poor. There’s also been very little change in numbers of people dying from lung disease in the last decade.
This is partly because lung disease hasn’t been prioritised by national decision-makers. For instance, until very recently there was never a national plan in England to improve respiratory services. Cuts to stop smoking services and exposure to unsafe levels of air pollution also mean we could see more people developing lung disease in future.
We need commitment to improving the nation's lungs
We’re starting to see some progress though. NHS England chose respiratory as a priority area in the long-term plan earlier this year. The previous government brought forward the Environment Bill which recognised the need for new legal limits on air pollution.
Whoever forms the next government, it’s vital they continue this momentum and commit to improving the nation’s lung health.
Whoever forms the next government, it’s vital they continue this momentum and commit to improving the nation’s lung health. That’s why we’ve written an open letter to the next prime minister.
In the letter, we ask them to support our plans to improve prevention, diagnosis and care for people with lung disease.
We want the next government to:
- formally support the Taskforce for Lung Health’s 5 year plan and ensure that NHS England’s respiratory programme receives sufficient funding. Plans in Scotland and Wales also need to be properly supported
- act on air pollution by bringing in new clean air laws
- commit to achieving a smoke-free England by 2030 by increasing public health budgets to help people to quit smoking
The best way to achieve these plans is for us all to make lots of noise about lung health. This will show the next government there’s a demand to prioritise lung disease and they can’t ignore us.
What can I do to help make lung health a priority?
You can help by adding your name to the open letter.
We’ll send the letter to the prime minister after the election and ask them to prioritise tackling lung disease.
The more people who sign, the more likely the government will listen.