The UK government has promised to take steps to improve the care for patients suffering from chronic lung diseases following the criticism in a report. The Healthcare Commission report said that there was an urgent need to improve diagnosis and care in the respiratory illness area.
"The development of a new National Service Framework is an important step which will support the NHS in managing and delivering COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] services more effectively, in a way that supports patient choice," said Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt. "It will support improvements in standards, tackle the current inequalities in COPD care and ensure that patients are able to access the services they need, where and when they want them."
The main disease condition that is threatening is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which is thought to affect one in 20 Britons and is the fifth most common cause of death in the UK. The Healthcare Commission report said that services for people with COPD were sorely lacking.
There is an urgent need to improve diagnosis and care for people suffering from the condition. Doing so will make a real difference to people's lives and there is evidence that it is more cost effective for the NHS," said Anna Walker, the commission's chief executive. "Patients need their condition to be properly diagnosed and their care and treatment reviewed regularly and systematically, not just when things go wrong."