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Lung patients feel 'let down'

11th June 2007

A new survey has suggested that people with lung diseases feel there are too few NHS specialists to help them cope with their condition.

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Findings from a survey by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) revealed that of the 3,200 patients questioned, a significant number said they felt disillusioned with what they see as the low priority given to their care and needs.

The BLF is aiming to highlight the issue and also the difficulties faced by people with lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, asthma and other lung conditions.

It has also criticised the UK – which has almost twice the number of deaths from respiratory illness compared to the European average – for its record on treating such conditions, highlighting a postcode lottery of care because of a shortage of specialists in certain areas.

The charity has launched Breathe Easy Week to raise the profile of the issue and to call for more research into lung disease.

BLF chief executive Dame Helena Shovelton said millions of children and adults suffer with lung disease in the UK but it remains the “poor relation? in terms of medical research with death rates having hardly improved in the last two decades.

More than 50% of those surveyed said they feared attacks of breathlessness while others had problems accessing community respiratory services and pulmonary rehabilitation.

The Department of Health said it was committed to tackling lung disease and that GPs were already being given incentives to encourage them to spot and treat people with COPD.

 

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