GE 2016 – ILHA Lung Health Priorities

In advance of General Election 2016 the Irish Lung Health Alliance outlined its priorities for Lung Health.

Why Prioritise Lung Health:

  1. 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)
  2. Ireland has the highest rate of respiratory hospital admissions (asthma and COPD) in 32 OECD countries surveyed for Health at a Glance 2015.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.


  1. Increase public knowledge of the causes and symptoms of lung disease through targeted awareness campaigns.
  2. Continue to develop effective policies around tobacco control and air quality.
  3. Increase access to smoking cessation services nationally.


  1. Increase access to early diagnosis through greater availability of spirometry, particularly at primary care level.


  1. Continue to prioritise and implement the National Clinical Programmes for COPD, Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis.
  2. Increase levels of respiratory healthcare staffing in line with international recommendations – including specialist nurses, respiratory physiologists and pulmonary physiotherapists.