"Breathe Easy Group has given me a new lease of life"

About: Cumbria Teaching PCT

(as the patient),

I have had copd most of my 72 years and had chronic asthma for over forty years until I was given spiriva which much improved me. However some two years ago I was referred by my doctor to a 'Fit For Life' gym which I attend once a week and the benefit has been obvious. Some eighteen months ago a Breathe Easy Group was formed with the help of the local rehab team and I became chairman. This group has given me a new lease of life and supports over fifty others with copd that have joined. I mention this because I attended a seminar of local health and care experts who discussed various case studies and although every case involved copd not one mention was made of the help and support available to these patients through the Breathe Easy Groups which exist throughout the country. Ours is a very successful group and we have managed to win an award from the British Lung Foundation as most outstanding new group.

With a lifetimes experience of copd I believe that the many thousands of copd sufferers would benefit enormously from a rehab course with encouragement to take up follow on exercise and membership of a Breathe Easy group. Our group has helped arrange a specialist exercise class for people referred to it by the rehab team. My reasons for telling this story are that many areas do not have a pulmonary rehab team and I know of cases where patients have had to wait up to two two years to be referred. In my opinion, if the NHS have responsibility for the treatment and care of the millions in the UK with lung disease, then they have a duty to see that everyone is referred by their doctor to this course of treatment and after care.

Having breathing difficulty can cause anxiety, isolation and depression and I think much more is needed in care beyond antibiotics and antidepressants and I believe local care organisations and primary care trusts should be made aware of it and include referrals to rehabilitation, follow up exercise and to the help and support available through Breathe Easy Groups in their manifesto's.

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Responses

Response from NHS Cumbria

Thank you for your kind comments regarding your experience of the Breathe Easy Groups.

We value all patient feedback on our services and I will also forwarded your comments on to the Service. It is always nice to receive compliments on our services and .

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write to us.

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