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East Lancashire lung disease sufferers at risk from cuts
LIVES will be put at risk because of cuts in funding for lung and respiratory disease, according to East Lancashire campaigners.
The Blackburn with Darwen Breathe Easy group is angry that the disease will not be given a Strategic Clinical Network (SCN) to support local care under the reformed NHS.
This sets it apart from disease areas like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, mental health, neurology, renal care and maternity services, all of which will be included in new networks.
Tthe Regional Respiratory Programme Board had been set up with funding from the Department of Health to improve care for people with lung and respiratory disease, but this runs out in 2013.
Paul Riley, spokesman for Blackburn with Darwen Breathe Easy group, said: “The SCNs formulate policy for the North West and tell local care providers the best way to improve. If we lose central government backing for this kind of body, there will be no guidance for local people.
“Lung and respiratory disease is a big problem in East Lancashire and we currently have very good provision of services.
“I’m afraid if we lose the central funding then we will lose the initiative. We’ll get lost in the pipeline and won’t have enough clout to improve the service.
“A lack of any such support could result in many deaths that could have been avoided.”
The Breathe Easy group has written to Blackburn and Darwen MPs Jack Straw and Jake Berry for help overturning the NHS Commissioning Body Authority (NHS CBA) decision.
A spokesperson for the commissioning body said: “Clinicians assessed a broad range of conditions against criteria developed with stakeholders to establish whether a strategic clinical network would be the best way to improve outcomes.
“The NHS CBA has made it clear that, as priorities change, the board will identify new conditions or patient groups to benefit.”
from a strategic clinical network approach.”