Following a landmark report by Taskforce for Lung Health at the end of 2018, respiratory disease has been made a priority on NHS England’s long-term plan.
The Taskforce reviewed evidence submitted by health professionals, researchers, the public and those living with lung conditions over a period of 12 months, before publishing a report containing recommendations for improving lung health over the next five years.
According to the organisation, one in five people are living with lung disease. Smoking, air quality, occupational illness and flu have been identified as the main causes of poor respiratory health.
Over 40 UK towns and cities including Manchester and Leeds match or exceed the World Health Organisation’s air pollution limits. Asthma and other respiratory illnesses have been connected to poor air quality, with cases reported in the news such as nine year old Ella Roberta who died during an asthma attack. Her illness was later linked to spikes in illegal levels of pollution near her London home.
The Taskforce found that 40,000 deaths each year are linked to pollution and poor air quality.
Lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma are amongst the most prevalent work-related occupational illnesses.
The report established that 12,000 deaths every year are linked to respiratory illnesses caused by employment. On top of this, there are 20,000 new cases of work-related breathing and/or lung problems annually.
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