MSP Emma Harper, who is a Registered Nurse and co-convener of the Lung Health Cross-Party Group has urged Holyrood to consider a Lung Heath Task force for Scotland.

It has been 10 years since the ban on smoking came in to force on March 2006. Banning smoking in cars with children are passengers, is a move commended recently by health professionals across Scotland. But, the number of deaths attributed to Respiratory disease has flat-lined. There has been little change over the last 20 years.

Harper, as co-convener of the Lung Health Cross-Party Group has listened to evidence from specialist doctors, British Lung Foundation, Chest Heart Stroke Scotland and Asthma UK. The British Lung Foundation published a document called “The Battle for Breath” that looks at lung health across the UK.

Harper stated;

“The big picture is that UK lung disease mortality is among the highest in Europe. The overall cost for lung health in the UK is £11 billion pounds and It is £1 billion pounds for us in Scotland. The BLF paper makes recommendations for similar investment and attention that cancer and cardiovascular disease have had”
Action is already in place to prevent unscheduled hospital admissions – which contribute significantly to higher costs of overall care. Patients are taught to self-monitor their vital signs and use a scoring system that triggers action based on the severity of the score. Patients recognise symptoms of exacerbation of their lung condition.
NHS Lothian have a light touch tele-health -person centred approach – to prevent or reduce unscheduled admissions and NHS D&Gs multidisciplinary team are testing a Community Respiratory Early Warning Score – or CREWS currently.
Fewer exacerbations lead to fewer admissions which leads to a reduction in costs. But Harper is calling for more to be done.
In her speech today, during the Preventative Health Care debate proposed by the Health and Sport Committee, Ms Harper said; “The National Respiratory Advisory Group are working on a Respiratory Quality Improvement Plan with the intent to it being delivered across Scotland. The current document is being created and is based on the Welsh and Northern Irish Respiratory Improvement Plans.”

Emma Harper called on the Scottish Government to consider supporting the next steps for healthier lungs for those affected in Scotland. She asked the Scottish government to consider supporting the Respiratory Advisory group to create a short-life working group or task force to agree on a national Respiratory Quality Improvement Plan for Scotland and then help to roll it out.

In closing she said;

“The work for the Scottish group would not be an uphill battle. The template has been created already. The Battle for Breath has already begun!”