Millions of people with respiratory diseases across the country will benefit from new government plans announced on Tuesday.
The government outcomes strategy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma aims to transform the lives of people living with lung conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
The new plans will bring together the work of voluntary organisations, social care and the NHS.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "This will reduce the number of deaths by focusing on better prevention, earlier diagnosis and excellent care and management of COPD and asthma."
COPD is the term used to describe a number of respiratory conditions that affect more than three million people across England.
The conditions, which are the only growing major cause of death, cost the NHS in excess of £2bn annually.
And COPD and asthma mortality rates in the UK are the second highest in Europe.
Patients with COPD and asthma will now have access to a care planning consultation with their doctor thanks to the government strategy.
This will allow COPD sufferers to tailor their care to suit their needs and identify issues before the situation deteriorates.
Copyright Press Association 2011
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"NICE guidelines for COPD state sufferers should get support from a multidiscipinary team. That doesn't happen. The NHS Continuing Healthcare [Responsibilities] Directions section seven states that those whose need for health services is more than incidental to their need for accommodation should get NHS Continuing Healthcare. That doesn't happen either!" – Peter Couch, Plymouth
"Sounds great but is it available in the USA?" - Sarahjean Ludwig, New York
"I think that anything positive to help COPD sufferers will be greatly appreciated. I feel as though all is helpless at this point." - Frances Kelly, Texas
"The article was a little short on details such as who is paying for what. Does Medicare cover this? Do most insurers cover this. Most people with COPD already are paying hefty medical bills and I can't speak for others but I could use some assistance." - Dale Cassidy, Bothell
"Are these help programmes available in the United States or only in UK. Because I need help paying for breathing meds, And CAN'T GET ANY. Please help the people who really need help!!!!" - Danny Walker, Tennessee
"It would be great if we could get Spiriva and Advair at a cost we can afford. My insurance doesn't cover Spiriva and the Advair costs way to much for me even with my insurance. What exactly is the government going to do to help us?" - JoAnn Compton, California
"Sounds like this might be a good idea." - Louise Smothers, Ohio
"Why not just work on a cure instead of just a maintence plan which i am already on now?" - Nancy Linsey, Indiana
"I would like to avail myself of such services once it is in the USA. Sounds like a very sound plan." - Alan Laskow, New York
"Yes this a welcome gesture from the government to
help COPD sufferers lead a normal life. If it eradicates or reduces the symptoms to managable levels, the better for millions of patients." - Elijah Ngure - Washington