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New ‘taskforce’ opens call for evidence on improving lung health with new five-year plan

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A new “taskforce for lung health”, comprising 25 representatives from the respiratory sector, is calling for evidence to identify what needs to change in the prevention and diagnosis of lung disease.

The call for evidence is the taskforce’s first move towards realising the aim of developing a five-year plan for improving lung health in England, endorsed by the whole respiratory community.

“It’s important that the taskforce raises awareness of lung health and health outcomes for patients”

Eleanor Sherwin

Researchers, clinicians, members of the public and people living with a lung condition are welcome to submit evidence, said the group, which includes the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists.

The taskforce, which represents patients, voluntary sector, primary and secondary care and professional associations, is currently looking for evidence linked to prevention and diagnosis.

Its aim is for all existing best practice and policy guidelines to eventually be pulled together in one place for the first time, covering the patient pathway from prevention through to end-of-life care.

The group highlighted that respiratory disease was one of the top three killers in the UK, with one in five people being diagnosed with a lung condition at some point in their lives.

Despite this, there is no plan currently in place to improve lung health or the care and services people receive, it noted.

In addition, despite some “great services and committed” healthcare professionals, there has not been any improvement in the number of people dying from lung disease in over a decade, it said.

“I would encourage all organisations to be supportive about submitting evidence”

Eleanor Sherwin

Eleanor Sherwin, from the Royal College of Nursing and the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, said: “From a nursing perspective and thinking about patient experience and outcomes, I think it’s important that the taskforce raises awareness of lung health and health outcomes for patients.

“One in five people will develop lung disease within their lifetime, which is a significant number,” she said. “I would encourage all organisations to be supportive about submitting evidence.”

It is estimated that the NHS spends £9.9bn each year on lung disease, including lung cancer and respiratory infections, making it the fourth most costly disease area.

Last year, the British Lung Foundation reiterated its call for the govenrment to set up an expert taskforce to develop a five-year strategy for tackling lung disease in England and Scotland.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and the British Lung Foundation subsequently launched their own taskforce towards the end of 2017. It is chaired by the charity’s chief executive Dr Penny Woods and includes most relevant charities and royal colleges.

  • Further guidance and information on submitting evidence to the taskforce is available from its web page, which is hosted by the British Lung Foundation.

Taskforce for Lung Health members include

  • Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care
  • Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists
  • Asthma UK
  • British Geriatrics Society
  • British Lung Foundation
  • British Thoracic Society
  • Cystic Fibrosis Trust
  • Primary Care Respiratory Society
  • Public Health England
  • Respiratory Futures
  • Right Care
  • Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
  • Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • Royal College of Emergency Medicine
  • Royal College of GPs
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • Royal College of Surgeons


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