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British Lung Foundation victory as COPD strategy sets to improve NHS treatment

18 July 2011

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) has today welcomed the announcement of the Government Outcomes Strategy to tackle Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma, which could potentially halve hospital admissions.

The COPD and Asthma Outcomes Strategy will ensure patients are diagnosed earlier and that their treatment and care is standardised across the country. It will also aim to radically reduce emergency hospital admissions for COPD, currently the second highest in the country.

BLF research shows that there are 3.7 million people suffering with COPD across the UK yet over 2.8 million of them do not know they have the condition because they dismiss symptoms such as breathlessness as a sign of getting older or a smoker’s cough.

Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation said:

“We are delighted to welcome the COPD and Asthma Outcomes Strategy. It will offer improved treatment and care to millions of people suffering with these life threatening and debilitating conditions. However, in order to have a real impact we need to see this strategy put into action across the country.

“The BLF will continue to work with the Department of Health to ensure this happens and that anyone affected by COPD and Asthma receives excellent standards of care and treatment wherever they live.”

Liz Dawn, British Lung Foundation Celebrity Ambassador and COPD sufferer said:

"I am over the moon to hear this. I hope it will help millions of people who live with a lung condition like me, to get the treatment and care they deserve."

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View Dame Helena Shovelton's thank you video to supporters.

Pictures from the launch can be found here.

Notes to editors:

  • COPD is the umbrella term for a number of lung conditions including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It kills more people every year than breast, bowel or prostate cancer
  • COPD is caused by smoking, passive smoking or by exposure to environmental pollution and to hazards at work such as dust, fumes and gases. In a very small number of people it is caused by a genetic deficiency
  • The UK faces a chronic lung disease time bomb. COPD is already the fifth biggest killer in the UK and it is the only major cause of death whose incidence is on the increase
  • The British Lung Foundation has been campaigning for seven years to get the COPD and Asthma Outcomes Strategy published. The charity helped to establish the external reference group, which patients sat on to share their experiences of what it’s like to live with COPD. Unfortunately three of these patients have sadly passed away.
  • The British Lung Foundation has also delivered a UK-wide programme to coordinate ‘Love Your Lungs’ events for people to have lung function tests and see if they’re at risk of COPD.
  • The British Lung Foundation is fighting to help the eight million people in the UK with lung disease. The charity provides support and information to improve the every day lives of people with lung disease. We are also campaigning for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention for now and the future.
  • It provides information via the website and telephone helpline 08458 50 50 20