Asthma + Lung UK Scotland, formerly Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Scotland, met with Central Scotland MSP, Monica Lennon outside the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 3 March 2022 to support the launch of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland, as new analysis from the charity shows that over 7,000 people in Scotland are dying every year from lung conditions.
Lung disease is one of the top three killers in Scotland, with one in five people diagnosed with a lung condition at some point in their lives. Analysis from Asthma + Lung UK Scotland shows that each year in Scotland more than 7,000 people are dying from lung conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease.
Following this analysis, the charity as well as people with lung conditions met with Monica to support the launch of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland as it described the state of lung health in Scotland as ‘shameful’. Scotland is one of the countries in Europe with the highest death rate for lung conditions.
Asthma + Lung UK Scotland is calling for lung condition needs to be treated as seriously as other major illnesses, including heart disease and cancer, with the charity emphasising that everyone has the right to breathe. The charity also says it is vital that there is more funding into research of lung conditions to help tackle the high death rates and increase in hospital admissions. Currently in the UK, only 2% of publicly funded research is spent on researching lung conditions.
When meeting with Asthma + Lung UK Scotland, Monica heard about the new strategy from the lung health charity which is setting out to ensure that no one develops a lung condition that could have been prevented, no one is left struggling to breathe without a diagnosis or expert care, and that there is no stone left unturned when it comes to finding a treatment, cure or better way to diagnose and manage lung conditions. The charity emphasised that no one who has difficulty breathing should look back and think that they could have had a better life with better care.
Speaking outside of the Scottish Parliament, Monica said:
“It was a privilege to meet with Asthma + Lung UK Scotland and people living with lung conditions, at the Scottish Parliament. I am grateful for the work Asthma + Lung UK Scotland is doing to support the one in five diagnosed with a lung condition as they fight for better lung health across Scotland.
“As MSP for Central Scotland, I will work to support my constituents get better diagnosis, care and treatment for their lung conditions and to help reduce the impact that breathlessness can have on the everyday lives of people with lung conditions.
“Any person who has concerns about their lung health should see a GP where possible or visit www.asthmaandlung.org.uk or call the Asthma + Lung UK helpline on 0300 222 5800.”
Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland said:
“It was great that MSPs across the party divide engaged with us to help support our new name and strategy.
“Sadly, the state of lung health in Scotland is shameful with over 7,000 lives lost every year.
“For far too long lung conditions have been treated like the poor relation compared to other major illnesses like cancer and heart disease, with only 2% of publicly funded research spent on understanding them and finding treatments, and negative attitudes preventing people getting early diagnoses, treatment and care. We need urgent action now.
“We need more NHS funding so people can be better diagnosed more quickly, enabling them to go on to receive the appropriate treatment and care they need.
“We are campaigning for lung health to be treated as a national priority and fight for a Scotland where everyone can breathe clean air with healthy lungs.”
Notes to editors:
1. Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation merged in 2020 and launched the new single brand on Monday 28 February 2022. – https://www.asthmaandlung.org.uk/
2. A new strategy was issued alongside the rebrand – https://www.asthmaandlung.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/ALUK_Fighting_for_Breath_Strategy_to_2027_report_v6.pdf
3. Monica is an Asthma + Lung UK Scotland Health Champion at the Scottish Parliament.