The Burden of Respiratory Disorders to the NHS
Respiratory diseases impose a heavy financial cost on national healthcare systems. In the UK, the cost to the NHS is huge (£6.6 billion a year), with millions of ‘bed days’ every year taken up by respiratory patients –the most commonly reported illnesses in babies and children are lung-related.1
The Royal College of General Practitioners carries out weekly surveillance of GP visits in a sample of practices in England and Wales. Rates of patients consulting are higher for respiratory conditions than for any other type of illness.1 Rates of long term respiratory illness in Great Britain are highest in the older age groups, reaching almost 1 in 10 of the over-65s.1 The extent of hospital admissions and GP consultations for chronic lung conditions is reaching crisis levels.1
Respiratory disease is often associated with other conditions. For example, about 40% of people with COPD also have heart disease, and significant numbers have depression and/or anxiety disorders. It is important that both the physical and mental health of people with COPD and asthma are assessed and addressed to ensure that people access care in a holistic way.2
- British Thoracic Society, The burden of lung disease, 2nd edition, 2006, at http://www.brit-thoracic.org.uk/Portals/0/Library/BTS%20Publications/burdeon_of_lung_disease2007.pdf. Accessed November 2013.
- Department of Health 2011. An Outcomes Strategy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma in England