We have worked with our charity’s service users, supporters and governance board to develop our Respiratory Manifesto, “Making It Easy For All Of Us To Breathe”. We have presented the manifesto to politicians, policy makers, physicians and the press to highlight the burden of respiratory disease in Northern Ireland, but more importantly, to call for the introduction of health policies and changes in legislation that will lead to improvements in the care and treatment of chest illnesses.
Northern Ireland has been without a Services Framework for Respiratory Health and Wellbeing since 2018. The previous framework had 56 standards to improve respiratory services in NI. Sadly, this was not delivered, and services did not improve due to a lack of political and health service leadership and investment. As a result, we are now calling on the Department of Health and policy makers to make respiratory health and services a priority area for action.
NICHS and our respiratory community want to see reforms across a number of areas to improve lung health for the people of NI. These are:
- Prevention, early detection and awareness
- Air quality
- Smoking prevention and cessation
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)
- Sleep Apnoea
Amongst the priority areas for improvement are the introduction of a new lung strategy, early detection and diagnosis of respiratory problems, equal and appropriate access to the best medicines, and a new and ambitious tobacco and E-cigarettes control strategy. We hope that political parties and health policy makers will support our Manifesto asks to improve lung health.