Almost one-in-three Australians is living with a lung disease and the federal government has set its sights on improving their treatment, releasing a plan that will help it do so.
The national strategic action plan for chronic lung conditions also aims to improve diagnosis of the diseases, which include lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.
Delivering lung health training for health professionals is in the plan, along with giving them access to educational materials.
It also involves supporting population groups at a higher-than-average risk of experiencing poor lung health, including those who work among occupational hazards.
The government will spend $4 million on immediately responding to some of the recommendations of the strategy, which was developed by Lung Foundation Australia.
The funding will include $2 million for health professional training, $1 million for an awareness campaign spearheaded by Lung Foundation Australia and $1 million for supporting groups particularly at risk.
“The action plan provides direction for a national effort to address the lung health of Australians,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
Children aged six to 17 affected by severe asthma will also soon have access to a medicine that improves breathing for cheaper.
Spiriva Respimat (tiotropium) will be subsidised by the government for the age group from March 1, when it’s listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, meaning it will cost at least $100 less each year.
Australians living with a lung disease number 7.1 million.