The Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have today responded to the publication of The Battle for Breath: the Impact of Lung Disease in the UK, from the British Lung Foundation.
The report demonstrates that efforts to tackle the third biggest killer are lagging behind other conditions, and are often overlooked despite strong evidence for measures to improve both care and lung health in general.
Amanda Cheesley, Professional Lead for Long Term Conditions and End of Life Care at
the RCN said:
“This is a really important reminder of the immense toll that lung diseases have on people, and the efforts the NHS should be making to reduce that burden.
“Specialist nurses can make a huge difference to people with respiratory problems, helping people to live lives as fully as possible while remaining well and out of hospital. But they have often been seen as a target for cutbacks, which is a completely false economy as people can end up sicker and in need of more hospital admissions.
“It has also been decades now since the effects of air pollution and tobacco smoking were understood, as well as the double effects of deprivation. More progress could and should have been made, and we need a concerted effort now to ensure that today’s children don’t suffer the same preventable conditions of previous generations.
“A focus on preventing these conditions, along with investment in specialist care to keep people as well and independent as possible, is now urgent.”
Wendy Preston, Vice Chair of the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, said:
“ARNS welcome this report by the British Lung Foundation identifying the battles that respiratory patients face from a wide range of illnesses and diseases.
“It is important that respiratory patients have access to expert help such as that provided by Respiratory Specialist Nurses in a timely and equitable manner.
“All Health Care Practitioners need to have respiratory knowledge including smoking cessation to enable identification of patients with respiratory disease and Respiratory Specialist Nurses provide much of this education as part of their role.”
Download the report The Battle for breath – the impact of lung disease in the UK here