Plan to reduce respiratory diseases and their effects
4:02pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
PERSONALISED self-management care plans and annual assessments are being proposed for patients in Wales with chronic respiratory conditions.
The measures are among wide-ranging proposals to try to prevent such diseases, and to minimise their effects on patients and the NHS.
A consultation paper, called Together for Health - A Respiratory Delivery Plan, also proposes key general approaches such as reducing smoking rates and improving vaccination uptake.
People in 'at risk' groups, including smokers, and those living with conditions such as asthma and sleep-disordered breathing, and who report persistent breathing problems, would be offered the appropriate diagnostic tests, such as chest x-rays or spirometry (a lung function test).
Also encouraged at a health board level will be the referral of patients to support groups such as Breathe Easy.
The Welsh Government proposes more integration of services to bring quicker access to, and take-up of, asthma treatment.
It also wants an increase in the amount of respiratory trials run in Wales, and an increase in the number of patients in Wales recruited onto clinical trials generally.
The consultation paper emphasises that tackling respiratory disease and its consequences will be a "significant challenge" and one that must be taken up by individuals as well as the NHS in Wales, and other agencies.
"If we are to sustain and further develop high quality healthcare for the people of Wales, there need to be increased levels of personal responsibility for lifestyle choices that increase people's risk of acquiring chronic conditions, or reduces the benefit of possible treatment," it states.
Prevention is a key priority, but so is the early detection of lung disease, which in Wales exacts a particularly heavy toll due to factors such as higher than average smoking rates, less healthy lifestyles, and underlying causes such as greater economic hardship and the ongoing effect, particularly among older people, of lives spent in coal, steel and other heavy industries.
In the Aneurin Bevan Health Board area, deaths from respiratory diseases - while some way behind those for cancer and circulatory diseases - still account for more than 30 deaths per 100,000 population every year. Respiratory disease is particularly prevalent in areas like Blaenau Gwent.
The Welsh Govenrment is inviting responses to the consultation paper. It can be found at www.wales.gov.uk/consultations/healthsocialcare/respiratory/?lang=en along with details of how to contribute an opinion or suggestions. The consultation closes on January 9 2014.
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