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by Joseph Carter, head of Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Scotland
13 May 2021
Associate feature: It's time for Scotland to invest in lung health

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us how important it is that we look after our lungs, writes Joseph Carter (Shutterstock)

Associate feature: It's time for Scotland to invest in lung health

The COVID-19 pandemic not only demonstrated the devastating impact respiratory viruses can cause but also reminded us how important it is that we look after our lungs.

Respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD account for over one third of all acute hospital admissions in Scotland and are one of the most commonly presented conditions in primary care.

Throughout the last parliament we collaborated with ministers to develop a new Respiratory Care Action Plan that was finally published in March 2021.

This long-awaited Respiratory Care Action Plan for Scotland sets out a vision for driving improvement in the prevention, diagnosis, care, treatment, and support of people living with respiratory conditions.

The plan aims to ensure that the one in five people in Scotland with a respiratory condition will be able to access the care and support they need to live well, on their own terms.

Once implemented the plan will improve and simplify access to appropriate diagnostic tests for respiratory conditions and explore the use of high quality, consistent spirometry testing and chest & lung CT scans.

It also commits to ensuring everyone with respiratory conditions who would benefit from specialist, general and community rehab is able to access appropriate services and support.

It is a vital step forward towards prioritising lung health in Scotland.

It is important, however, to note that this plan could be strengthened further and would benefit from additional funding.

More than 83,000 people had to shield during the pandemic due to the severity of their lung condition, which was a stark reminder of how far respiratory health in Scotland must go.

People with lung conditions need their government to take action. We are calling on the new health secretary to make lung health a priority and fund the Respiratory Care Action Plan fully.

This piece was sponsored by Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Scotland

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