What is happening with the NHS long-term plan?
Sarah from our policy team explains what's going on with the NHS long-term plan.
What is the NHS long-term plan?
Earlier this year, NHS England published a new long-term plan for England, laying out what the health service will do over the next decade. Significantly, the plan made lung health a priority area for the first time.
This represents a huge step forward for lung health, as it should eventually lead to better services, treatment and outcomes.
What progress has been made?
The NHS has set up some working groups on different areas to make sure the plan is put into action. There is one for respiratory disease, which will sit alongside a group for heart disease and a group for strokes. The good news is that our Director of External Affairs, Alison, is co-chairing the respiratory group. This means we’ll be really involved in delivering the plan.
Some targets have been set for what the plan should achieve. These include things like an increase in the number of people who can get access to pulmonary rehabilitation and a decrease in the number of people who go to hospital for pneumonia.
What happens next?
The NHS has decided what the big priorities are for improving respiratory care over the next five years:
- People should be given the right tests and diagnosed more quickly. This includes more spirometry testing.
- Increased funding for pulmonary rehabilitation, especially in areas of the country where there are higher levels of lung disease.
- More medicine reviews, to check people are taking the right medicines and know how to use their inhaler properly.
- A new education programme, so that – when people are first diagnosed – they get all the information they need about how to manage their condition.
There are also things happening in other parts of the NHS that affect people with respiratory conditions. Work is going on to prevent lung disease, tackling things like smoking and air pollution. A new programme to offer scans to people at higher risk of lung disease is being launched too.
The NHS wants to recruit patients
The NHS knows that the long-term plan will only work if it does the things that are most important to people living with lung conditions.
Working with us, the NHS wants to recruit patient representatives. They will sit on the respiratory working group alongside health care professionals and policy makers.
We will be publishing more information about this in the next few weeks, so watch this space for more information.
What can I do?
The NHS’s long-term plan is a good start, but we think they can be more ambitious. The targets for heart disease and stroke are stronger, with clearer actions laid out to achieve them.
Lung conditions deserve the same. We think the plan should include all the recommendations the Taskforce for Lung Health made last year.
You can help us achieve this by emailing your MP to tell them why it is important to you.