Local MP Maria Miller recently attended a meeting of the Breathe Easy Basingstoke and District Group. The Group is part of the British Lung Foundation, and is one of over 200 groups across the UK which provide support for people with any kind of lung condition, and their carers.  She was welcomed to the meeting by the Chairman of the Group, John Loots. Two representatives of the North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Respiratory Steering Group also attended, Dr Louise Beynon (GP at the Gillies Practice) and Becky Rogers from the CCG.
Members of the group welcomed the focus in the new NHS Long Term Plan on respiratory care and lung disease as a priority area, and hoped that this would result in earlier diagnosis and intervention, as well as localised services. They discussed the importance of pulmonary rehabilitation exercise, and fund twice weekly classes at Popley Fields Community Centre, in addition to their monthly meetings.
Maria heard about the various triggers that can bring on an attack or exacerbate the symptoms of people with chronic lung conditions, including heavy traffic and cars and lorries leaving their engines running when they are stationary.
One member said: “When lorries stop and run their engines in stationary traffic I am really in trouble and can’t breathe”. Another said: “Sometimes the vehicles with lots of pollution make it difficult for me to breathe”.
Maria said: “I was pleased to meet members of the Breathe Easy Basingstoke group and hear about the important work they do to support people living with chronic lung conditions.”
"The group does a great deal to raise awareness of their work amongst GPs, practice nurses and hospital specialists to ensure more people with lung disease in Basingstoke can benefit".
Maria added: “Members of the group talked about how, for those with a chronic lung condition, walking near traffic jams and waiting vehicles with their engines running can trigger an attack. This is why I helped to launch with the British Lung Foundation the Clean Air Parents’ Network in Parliament last year, and why I am supporting the Council’s campaign “Clean Air Basingstoke”. We all need to take responsibility for protecting our air quality in Basingstoke. Everyone has a part to play.”