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NHS England has made lung health a priority

Big news - the NHS's new long-term plan for England will focus on lung health! Sarah from our press and policy team explains how it will affect you. 

people looking at scan on screen

In early January, the NHS published a new long-term plan for England, working out what the health service will do over the next decade, with an extra £20bn of funding available each year to help make it happen.

For the first time, the new plan makes lung health a priority area! 

Only 5 different disease areas are prioritised, so it's a huge step forward. We've already written before about how having a proper, funded plan for lung health could be a game changer, so we're really excited.

"It's a huge step forward."

The new plan will help turn things around

We know that lung disease has been neglected for far too long. 

We don’t do enough to prevent people from getting ill,  and we don’t diagnose lung disease quickly enough. We also don’t make sure people get access to the best treatments.

But the new plan will help turn this around by making sure every part of the health service, from GPs to hospitals, has a new focus on lung health.

Four main areas will be affected

The plan covers 4 main areas that are important for people affected by lung disease.

First of all, it proposes new ways of getting diagnosis right. This means that when people go to their GP with breathlessness or a cough that won’t go away, they should be referred for the right tests as quickly as possible.

"The plan recommends making more pulmonary rehab available to people who need it."

The plan also covers new ways to make sure that everyone is on the right medication, with regular checks. It has a section on how health care workers can support people to manage their own condition, so they can keep doing the things that are important to them.

One of the best treatments for lung diseases like COPD is pulmonary rehabilitation. It helps people feel less breathless, be more active, and be less likely to go to hospital. It also costs the NHS a lot less money than drug treatments, so it’s great that the plan recommends making more pulmonary rehab available to people who need it.

The new plan will also cover prevention. It commits more money to help people in hospital quit smoking, and promises to reduce the amount of air pollution which is caused by the NHS.

It's a great start - but we need to do more

"The plan is great news, but it doesn’t go far enough."

The plan is great news, but it doesn’t go far enough.

Last year, we published the first report from the Taskforce for Lung Health, a group of 29 organisations who came together to make recommendations on how to improve treatment and care for people with lung disease.

It’s really important that the government looks at this plan and implements it in full.

Want to get involved?

If you'd like to help, you can show your support by using our quick, online form to email your MP. You can tell them why it's so important that lung health is in the NHS plan, and ask them to support the Taskforce for Lung Health recommendations.

Together, with your help, we can go even further in transforming outcomes for people with lung disease.


My husband has pulmonary fibrosis and has signed up for the rehabilitation course in our area only to be told that there is 6 months waiting list .. Very upsetting for him and for me as I have to keep his spirits up 

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7 January 2019