We went to parliament to tell MPs about the new five year plan for lung health
In December 2018, we went to parliament to talk to MPs about the new, five year plan from the Taskforce for Lung Health. Sarah from our policy and public affairs team explains what it's all about.
The Taskforce for Lung Health was set up a year ago. It’s made up of 29 different organisations and people, including people with lung conditions, health care professionals and charities like the British Lung Foundation. We came together because we know that the care and treatment people with lung disease get just isn’t good enough. We want to do something about that.
There's been no improvement for over a decade
Although 1 in 5 of us has a lung condition, outcomes for lung disease haven’t improved in over a decade. Lung health isn’t prioritised so it’s hard for people to get the right diagnosis and the best treatments.
The Taskforce for Lung Health spent all of 2018 looking at the evidence and asking people what we could do to change things.
Big changes for people with lung disease
That’s how we came up with our new plan. The report we published makes lots of new recommendations. If these are adopted by the health service, they will lead to big changes for people with lung disease.
We have called for better prevention plans to stop people getting ill in the first place, including help to stop smoking, action on air pollution, healthy workplaces and making sure everyone gets their flu jab.
The most important thing is that everyone with symptoms gets a quick and accurate diagnosis. So we have designed a new system with time limits for getting a diagnosis and starting treatment. This is what you would expect if your doctor suspected you had cancer.
We know that there are lots of good treatments out there but not everyone can get them. That’s why we have asked for better access to the newest drugs. And we know that lung disease doesn’t just affect physical health. So we have recommended that health care professionals always consider the mental health and emotional impact of lung disease as well.
Millions of people are living with a long term lung condition, like asthma or COPD. It’s vital that more people can get referred to pulmonary rehabilitation so they can stay active and feel better. And everyone should have their own, personal action plan.
Last but not least, we have also called for much better and joined up care for people with lung disease when they are approaching the end of their life.
It was great to launch our plan in parliament and to see so many MPs, health care professionals and people with lung disease coming together.
Jay, who has COPD, made a speech to everyone there. He talked about how we need to increase awareness and understanding of lung disease. He said that too many people just don’t know what it’s like to live with a long term lung condition like COPD.
Our chief executive, Penny Woods, talked about the report findings and all the different recommendations we made.
James Brokenshire MP was recently treated for lung cancer. He talked about how important it is to get diagnosis right, so that everyone gets the treatment they need. He said there is often a stigma attached to lung disease, but we can’t let that stop people getting proper help and support.
We were so excited that Robert Peston came along. He talked about losing his wife, Sian Busby, to lung cancer. He thinks that we need to do much more to diagnose people when they first have symptoms. He is also worried about how dirty air in cities is affecting all our lung health.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Gina Radford, told us what the government are doing to improve things for people with lung disease. There will be a new NHS plan, published before Christmas, which for the first time will include a section on lung health.
It was so great to hear such a range of different perspectives on lung disease as we launch this important plan for the future.
You can read the plan and find out more about what we are calling for. If you have five minutes, you can email your MP and ask them to support the plan.