In advance of General Election 2016 the Irish Lung Health Alliance outlined its priorities for Lung Health.
Why Prioritise Lung Health:
- Respiratory diseases, including cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung accounted for 18% of all deaths in 2014. Rates of mortality from respiratory disease are 42% higher than the EU-28 average. (Health in Ireland Key Trends 2015)
- Ireland has the highest rate of respiratory hospital admissions (asthma and COPD) in 32 OECD countries surveyed for Health at a Glance 2015.
- Ireland has the lowest number of respiratory consultants in Europe after Macedonia at 1.3 per 100,000 population while the mean for Europe is 4.4. (ERS White Book)
- Social inequality causes a higher proportion of deaths in respiratory disease than in any other disease area. For COPD the difference in mortality rates between the higher and lower occupational classes is 430%. (INHALE Report – Irish Thoracic Society 2008).
What can be done to change this:
A National Programme for Healthy Lungs in Ireland mapping out a detailed strategy for improving lung health, the resources required and achievable targets for improving our population’s lung health.
- Increase public knowledge of the causes and symptoms of lung disease through targeted awareness campaigns.
- Continue to develop effective policies around tobacco control and air quality.
- Increase access to smoking cessation services nationally.
- Increase access to early diagnosis through greater availability of spirometry, particularly at primary care level.
- Continue to prioritise and implement the National Clinical Programmes for COPD, Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis.
- Increase levels of respiratory healthcare staffing in line with international recommendations – including specialist nurses, respiratory physiologists and pulmonary physiotherapists.