August 7, 2015

Lung Foundation Australia wants improved health care access for chronic lung disease patients

Lung Foundation Australia has called for greater community-based care models as part of a submission to a federal inquiry into chronic disease prevention and management.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis and interstitial lung diseases, were major contributors to disability, premature mortality and health care use in Australia.

“Patients with chronic lung disease experience significant disability as a result of their symptoms, particularly breathlessness,” Mrs Allan said.

“Early diagnosis and optimal management, including pulmonary rehabilitation and patient self-management, can improve outcomes, reduce hospital admissions and improve health-related quality of life,” she said.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Chronic Disease Prevention and Management in Primary Health is examining opportunities for Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to coordinate and support the prevention and management of chronic disease in primary health care, as well as the roles of State and Territory Governments and private health insurers, in preventing and managing chronic disease.

The committee will also examine ways in which multidisciplinary teams prevent and manage chronic disease and look at models of healthcare that improve outcomes for high-end, frequent users of medical and health services.

Lung Foundation Australia recommendations to the Inquiry including to:

  • widen asthma health care priority areas to include all chronic lung disease
  • provide new MBS item number to support wider access to pulmonary rehabilitation in the community
  • encourage PHNs and Health and Hospital Services to work with peak bodies to reduce duplication and ensure nationally consistent evidence-based training across the country.

Click here to read the full submission.