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Lung Patients

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to provide secure funding for pulmonary rehabilitation programmes in NHS hospitals; and when he expects that such programmes will be universally available in the NHS; [122119](2) if he will make a statement on

(a) regional and (b) local variations in the provision by the NHS of pulmonary rehabilitation to lung patients. [122120]

Substantial new investment in both health and social care services was announced in the 2002 Budget. This amounts to the largest sustained increase in funding of any five-year period in the history of the national health service. Over the years 2003–04 to 2007–08, these plans mean that expenditure on the NHS in England will increase on average by 7.4 per cent. a year over and above inflation—a total increase over the period of 43 per cent. in real terms. This means that, over the same five-year period, there will be an increase of £34 billion.It is the role of strategic health authorities, in partnership with primary care trusts (PCTs), to decide what services to provide for their populations including those with respiratory conditions. They are best placed to understand local health needs and commission services to meet them.The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently developing a guideline on the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in primary and secondary care. NICE is due to publish the guideline in 2004. In January 2003, the Respiratory Alliance published their guidance, "Bridging the Gap", which aims to help PCTs to commission and deliver high quality allergy and respiratory care. Local British Lung Foundation Breathe Easy groups often reinforce pulmonary rehabilitation programmes.Information is not held centrally regarding the proportion of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who can access pulmonary rehabilitation locally or nationally. However, a recent survey by the British Lung Foundation and the British Thoracic Society found that 160 out of 266 hospitals across the country provide some form of pulmonary rehabilitation to lung patients.