• British Lung Foundation campaign

    I sympathise profoundly with anyone who suffers with respiratory illness and I share many of the concerns you have raised. Lung disease is a major health issue and I believe it is important that we do all we can to make inroads into improving respiratory health. In its report published in March the British Lung Foundation found wide variation in treatment and care across the country. It estimates that lung disease costs the economy £11 billion every year and raises serious concerns about the long-term neglect, under-prioritisation and underinvestment in research, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease. I understand the disappointment that will be felt by many in our constituency and across the country that the Government has no plans to establish an independent taskforce on lung health. I believe the Government need to come up with a credible and comprehensive strategy to minimise the prevalence of lung diseases in our country. I agree that investment in public health and prevention is crucial to tackling lung disease and I have long supported the establishment of a new tobacco control plan. After 18 months of delays, the Government published its updated strategy in July. The plan sets out a bold approach to creating a smoke-free society, with a shift from national action to local action. However, I remain concerned that cuts to public health spending may widen the health inequality gap in our country – £200 million has already been cut from local public health budgets and 3.9% average real-terms cuts are expected each year to 2020-21. At the General Election in June I stood on a manifesto which pledged to invest in our NHS to give patients the modern, well-resourced services they need, and to take action to address ‘postcode lotteries’ to ensure that the quality of care an individual receives does not depend on which part of the country they live in. Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views. I will continue to press the Government to be more proactive in raising awareness among the public and invest in preventative health measures which can head off the risks of lung disease in the years to come.