Iain backs charity’s call for equal Right to Pulmonary Rehab

Iain Gray MSP is backing Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland’s call for the Scottish Government to invest in an equal right to pulmonary rehabilitation.

The charity’s call follows its publication of a new report highlighting the impact of living with lung conditions like COPD, and the wide variations across Health Boards in access to Pulmonary Rehab – a treatment for people with COPD and other lung conditions that is proven to be both clinically and cost effective.

Pulmonary Rehab not only helps people stay well and self-manage their condition – a key part of Realistic Medicine – but also reduces hospital admissions and halves the length of hospital stays.

However, patients in the NHS Lothian area, including East Lothian, are currently waiting an average of 10 weeks for an assessment, while only 15 per cent of those who would benefit from rehabilitation are referred to a programme.

Commenting on this postcode lottery for pulmonary rehab, Iain Gray MSP said:

“Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland’s new report underlines the impact of living with lung conditions like COPD and the difference that pulmonary rehab can make. People with the condition have told the charity it has helped turn their lives around. 

“However, access to pulmonary rehab is a postcode lottery across Scotland, with patients waiting from four to 29 weeks for an assessment depending on where they live. In the NHS Lothian area only 15 per cent of people diagnosed with COPD who would benefit from Pulmonary Rehabilitation are currently referred.

“This unmet need is potentially letting down hundreds of patients in East Lothian who could benefit from rehabilitation. An equal Right to Pulmonary Rehab would give everyone with incurable lung conditions like COPD the best chance of living their lives and staying out of hospital. 

“I’ll be joining colleagues at Holyrood to push the Cabinet Secretary for Health to take action and put in place the investment needed to ensure everyone who would benefit from rehab is able to access it.”

CHSS’s The Right to Pulmonary Rehab report can be found at www.chss.org.uk/chss-campaigns-policy-projects-for-longer-stronger-lives/pulmonary-rehab-cta/