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Department of Health appoints Joint National Clinical Directors for Respiratory Disease

  • Last modified date:
    9 December 2009
Ann Keen

The Department of Health today is taking forward its commitment to tackling Respiratory disease by recruiting joint National Clinical Directors for the Respiratory Programme.

Respiratory disease is the second most common cause of death in England, with over six million people affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or asthma.  Both conditions kill a significant number of people each year, but if diagnosed early can be managed effectively to maintain a good quality of life.

Health Minister Ann Keen said:

'Respiratory diseases, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and asthma, affect the lives of millions of people in England.  Early diagnosis and management can make a significant difference to the quality of life for people living with these conditions. That’s why the Respiratory Programme is so important and I am pleased Sue Hill and Robert Winter will be leading this work, particularly the introduction of a National Strategy for COPD.

'By appointing joint National Clinical Directors to oversee the development of a strategy we will ensure that clinical evidence and outcomes for patients are at the heart of our work to improve the quality of services to tackle respiratory disease.  We will continue to work closely with the NHS and patient groups to make a real difference for patients and for the healthcare staff working in this area.”

Prof Sue Hill said:

'I am delighted to take on this role and to continue my engagement in this important programme. I know both Robert and I are committed to raising awareness and the profile of respiratory disease across England. It is important that the public understand what good lung health is and understand the symptoms of respiratory disease and that the NHS develops services that are responsive to the needs of people with respiratory disease and their carers so that they are able to enjoy the everyday activities that most of us take for granted.'

Dr Robert Winter said:

'I am pleased to be working with Sue Hill in this very important area. Improving the care of people with a respiratory disease is a major challenge for the NHS. Clearly, there is scope to improve the efficiency as well as the quality of services.

'I am convinced that with better-coordinated and integrated services the NHS can provide care that better meets the complex needs of people with respiratory disease.'

Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation said:

'Respiratory disease has a tremendous impact on people, carers and their families. The British Lung Foundation welcomes the appointment of Dr. Robert Winter and Professor Sue Hill as Joint National Clinical Directors and looks forward to working with them both in the future. 

'The British Lung Foundation is aware of their determination to put people with respiratory disease at the centre of all they do, and looks forward to the joint Directors putting their combined skills, experience and leadership to benefit patient care across England.'

The Department of Health recognises the importance of developing and implementing a National Strategy for COPD and this will be one of the first priorities for Professor Hill and Dr Winter.  They will also be focussing on home oxygen services, asthma and sleep apnoea.

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