Taskforce for lung health have launched a four year on plan, setting out the progress made to improve the nation’s lung health and the challenges that still lie ahead.
Our plan: four years on highlights progress made to date and the areas where further action is needed to achieve the recommendations set out in our 2018 national plan to improve the nation’s lung health.
2022 was a challenging year with both political and economic uncertainty and change, but there have been several welcome developments that will make a real difference for people with lung conditions, including:
• NHS England’s new pre-diagnosis breathlessness pathway to ensure people with lung conditions receive clear and appropriate information about what to expect at each stage throughout their patient journey
• Nintedanib having its eligibility expanded to people living with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, enabling thousands of additional people living with this incurable disease to access a drug which can slow the progression of the disease
• Targeted national lung cancer screening programme being recommended by the UK National Screening Committee to be rolled out nationally for the first time for people at high risk, which has the potential to save thousands of lives
While this progress is welcome, the work of Taskforce is far from over. The current policy climate shows that there is a need to continue to raise the profile of respiratory and make the case for investment, support, and attention to ensure that people with lung conditions – and those who care for them – get the support they need. The Government’s recently announced Major Conditions Strategy, with a focus on chronic respiratory disease, will provide an opportunity to make this case.
In 2023, we will be continuing to push for improvements and change through our three working groups and the Taskforce more widely. Key priorities will include:
• Spirometry – Increasing access to spirometry lung function testing so that everyone gets a quick and accurate diagnosis
• Inhaler technique checks – Improving inhaler techniques to ensure people with lung conditions are confident using their medication
• Community Pharmacy – Making full use of community pharmacy to help people manage their lung conditions better
• Workforce – Ensuring the right medical professionals are in place to meet the needs of respiratory patients now and in the future
As ever, we owe our success to those that dedicate their time and insight to support the Taskforce and drive our work forward. The commitment of our Taskforce, Industries Forum and working groups members creates invaluable discussion and spurs on real progress. We are especially grateful to our patient and carer representatives, whose contributions highlight the importance of Taskforce’s mission and give vital focus to all the work we do.