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OSA Project Update

Progress against the four project objectives

1. Promote OSA as a strategic priority for the BLF and Department of Health

  • The Project Manager continued to visit sleep clinics and hold key meetings with sleep medicine professionals including professors, consultants and respiratory nurse consultants to garner their support for the project and build knowledge of what issues they face. This will be crucial in influencing change at the Department of Health.
  • A literature and research review on different OSA related issues has resulted in the production of 10 BLF reports which will be used to create the BLF’s OSA Charter and campaigning priorities

2. Help increase awareness of OSA to the public and professionals


  • A major success in this period was BLF coverage on BBC Breakfast news . Our Press and Campaigns Manager was interviewed live in the studio with a patient, and the piece also included a recorded interview with Tom Mackay (consultant) and an interview with a patient in Scotland who has lost 14 stone through dieting. This led to over 20,000 hits on the OSA pages of the BLF website within a few days.
  • We responded to an article in the Daily Telegraph, which gave a negative report about one person’s experience with CPAP. As a result, they put up our video showing a man having an apnoea on their website and a link to our website. The Telegraph’s online team informed us that the video had received 22,000 plays in a week, and the majority of readers’ comments on the webpage who have experience of CPAP refuted the original article.
  • Other media successes included: Radio 5 live interview with a patient, article in Women’s Fitness magazine, article in the ARNS newsletter.
  • Internal BLF articles about the OSA project were produced in: Breathe Easy Newsletter - for Breathe Easy volunteer groups, Breathing Space magazine – for BLF members, Your BLF magazine – for BLF supporters, and the BLF nurses newsletter


  • The new Top Tips for GPs web page was sent to all members of the PCRS by the Department of Health
  • We have now reached over 2,000 Health Care Professionals through a number of different activities, including the news bulletin, and a flyer insert about the OSA project for the BTS conference delegate pack

Help find undiagnosed people

  • The NHS Choices website now has a link to the BLF OSA pages (via the Epworth Sleepiness Scale) from its OSA section
  • Over 20,000 people have completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale on the BLF website. Plans are being drawn up to enable the BLF to ask people to provide some follow-up information so we can ascertain the outcomes for people who take the test.

Help improve OSA services

  • Interviews with over 20 health care professionals and 30 patients have been collated and will inform year two priorities and the OSA charter. Case studies now include a child on CPAP and a woman who has lost over 14 stone through dieting and no longer has OSA.
  • The BLF in Northern Ireland have jointly planned and run a pilot OSA support group for diagnosed patients – this has met a few times and the outcomes will be shared
  • The BLF have facilitated communication between service leaders in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and this has resulted in the sharing of information to support the development of sleep service minimum standards

Activities planned over the next three months

  • The BLF OSA charter will be launched. It will be a 10 point charter which containing a call to action on different issues, including awareness levels, referral, treatment and management pathways, and minimum standards for service provision and staff training. This will be a key part of our campaign and we want to ensure it has optimum impact to help improve awareness, find undiagnosed people and improve services.
  • The new BLF OSA leaflet will be printed after consultation with patients and health care professionals. The BLF has recently received Department of Health Information Standard approval and this leaflet will be one of the first we produce with the Information Standard logo

Priorities for Year 2 (February 2012 – January 2013)

  • Development of the BLF OSA patient information pack, which will be available to sleep clinics to give out to patients
  • Development of BLF OSA information for primary care
  • OSA in children – the BLF’s campaigning position will be identified
  • Reporting on mapping of current services including identifying areas of gaps in provision and identifying targeted areas for awareness campaigns
  • Launch of awareness campaigns through activities and events in targeted areas
  • OSA patient survey – to survey a large number of people with OSA about their condition and the services they have received

BLF research grants
If you are interested in applying for a research grant please click here.

BLF membership
If you are new to working in partnership with the BLF, we would like to encourage you to become a member - have a look at our membership page for more information.