Chronic respiratory disease has a major impact on people's lives; as well as their families and carers. Many people living with a respiratory condition are not able to work, study, drive or live independently. In Scotland, respiratory conditions account for over one third of all acute hospital admissions and are also one of the most commonly presented conditions within primary care.
In 2020, clinicians were faced with the new challenge of COVID-19, the main target of the virus being the lungs. Many respiratory doctors, nurses and Allied Health Professionals were redeployed into frontline COVID-19 wards to treat people with severe infections. This has caused unprecedented disruption and change to the way respiratory care is delivered.
Every winter, people living with a respiratory illness such as asthma, COPD or Bronchiectasis, try to protect themselves from the Flu virus. In 2020, people living with these conditions protected themselves and others from the new virus by shielding. We know that the physical and mental toll of shielding has been significant for people living with respiratory illness and we are therefore committed to improving access to rehabilitation services and mental health support.
The publication of the Respiratory Care Action Plan identifies key priorities and commitments to improve outcomes for people living with respiratory conditions in Scotland. The plan encourages new and innovative approaches and intends to share best practice. It sets out our desire to see a whole system approach to respiratory care, across health and social care and our priorities and commitments will build on the progress that has been made to date.
To deliver the most effective, person-centred care we will continue to work collaboratively with key stakeholders in the implementation of our priorities. We are committed to designing and developing services that meet the needs of everyone, with a focus on those that are experiencing health inequalities.
To deliver the most effective, person-centred care we will continue to work collaboratively with key stakeholders in the implementation of our priorities.
We thank all of those involved in the care, treatment and support of people living with respiratory conditions. By progressing the commitments and priorities laid out in this ambitious Respiratory Care Action Plan, we will ensure respiratory care meets the needs of the respiratory community in Scotland.
Mairi Gougeon MSP
Minister for Public Health and Sport