Only one-in-nine patients in the Lothians who would benefit from lung rehab are able to receive it because of a chronic shortage of spaces, Kezia Dugdale revealed today.
The Labour MSP for Edinburgh and the Lothians challenged ministers to end the ‘postcode lottery’ and improve access to pulmonary rehabilitation.
The courses are a free programme of exercise and information provided by the NHS for people living with a long-term lung condition which cause breathing difficulties, like COPD. It is one of the most effective ways to support people living with lung disease, and can dramatically reduce hospital admissions.
In some areas of Scotland, you can access a course within two weeks – in other areas the average wait for a place is over half a year.
In the Lothian region, an estimated 9,000 people would benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation, but there is only capacity for around 1,100.
Health charity Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has launched a petition calling on the Scottish Government to invest in a ‘Right to Rehab’, ensuring that there is universal and equal access to rehabilitation programmes.
Speaking after raising the issue with Health Secretary Jeane Freeman in the Scottish Parliament debating chamber, Kezia Dugdale said:
“People living with a long-term lung condition are among the biggest users of health services in Scotland, with thousands of hospital admissions each year.
“Lung rehabilitation is proven to be clinically effective and is one of the most cost-effective treatment options available for COPD, reducing both the number of bed days and admissions.
“But there simply aren’t anywhere enough places available on pulmonary rehab programmes for everyone that would benefit. There are 9,000 people across the Lothians who would benefit from this, but there’s only capacity for 1,100 people to get it.
“The Scottish Government must invest more money and work to close that gap, and end the postcode lottery across Scotland.”
NOTES TO EDITORS