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Torfaen MP and Bevan biographer Nick Thomas-Symonds has used parliamentary Health Questions to wish the NHS a happy 68th birthday and praise its creator Aneurin Bevan.
Mr Thomas-Symonds made the comments in the House of Commons whilst raising the issue of mortality rates for lung disease. He highlighted the lack of improvement on deaths from lung disease over the last 10 years and called on the Minister to follow the example of the Welsh Government and to develop a strategy to tackle the issue.
In Wales 330,000 people suffer from respiratory diseases and in 2014 they were the cause of 4,444 deaths. Across the UK someone dies from lung disease every 5 minutes and each year these diseases are responsible for 20% of all deaths. The British Lung Foundation are concerned that this figure has remained static over recent years despite progress on other comparable diseases and they are calling for action to tackle the causes of lung disease.
The Welsh Government’s three year Respiratory Health Delivery Plan was launched by Mark Drakeford AM, then Minister for Health and Social Services in April 2014. The ambitious plan was seen as an opportunity to transform respiratory services in Wales. One million pounds a year has been allocated to delivering priorities on lung disease and all health boards have been challenged to improve their services for respiratory patients
Nick Thomas Symonds MP called on the UK Government to follow the Welsh Governments lead and do more to tackle lung disease. He said: “Happy 68th birthday to the NHS and thank you to its creator, Labour’s Aneurin Bevan.
“According to research by the British Lung Foundation, the mortality rates for lung disease have not improved over the past 10 years. Will the Secretary of State take a lesson from the Welsh Government, which have put in place a specific strategy and delivery plan to tackle the issue?”
Government Minster George Freeman MP responded:
“The hon. Gentleman will know that the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Jane Ellison), opened an exhibition on this topic yesterday and that the Chancellor recently put an extra £5 million into mesothelioma research. Through the National Institute for Health Research, the Government are committing to invest in that disease area. We are also committed to ensuring that we drive up both research and better treatment for such diseases.”