12th December 2019
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Increase in patients with dangerous lung condition highlighted

Shetland has seen a 23 per cent increase in patients with a dangerous lung condition over an eight year period, health figures have revealed.

The findings from NHS Scotland show the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, has risen from 230 in 2011/12 to 284 now.

And calls are being made by a Labour MSP for more help to be offered to those suffering from lung conditions.

Highlands and Islands member Rhoda Grant made her call as she posed for pictures in fancy dress with a representative of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland as part of a fundraising effort.

The charity argues thousands of people across Scotland are missing out on vital supervised programmes of exercise training, health education, and breathing techniques.

It warns the NHS is missing out on “significant” savings, as a result.

Mrs Grant said: “The Scottish government has to listen. New figures show the number of people with COPD has risen sharply just in a few years. Here in the Highlands and Islands nearly 9,000 people are now living with COPD and that’s up from just over 6,600 in 2011.

“Across Scotland, a record number of people, a staggering 139,187 individuals, have been diagnosed. That’s an increase of 26 per cent since 2011. It means more people than ever before are needing support and rehabilitation to manage their condition and cope with the impact it can have on their lives.”

Ms Grant was standing alongside Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s communications manager Laurence Cowan, who is running his own personal fundraising campaign for people living with COPD after watching his father struggle with the condition.

Mr Cowan went to work every day this month dressed in a super-hero costume in a bid to encourage others to follow suit and raise funds for his charity, which supports people with COPD.

Donations for the charity are being sought online.

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  1. ian tinkler. Dr.

    This is so very sad. What is especially sad is most of this disease is self-inflicted. It is time for our feeble political class to act.
    Health emphasis must be on prevention. If a fraction of the funds spent on treatment were used to encourage physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle, a huge burden would be lifted from our Health Services. It is crazy spending £ hundreds of thousands on chronic self-inflicted illness when our fitness centres cost individuals hundreds of pounds to access and are beyond the means of many!
    It may stoke controversy, but with limited funds, we must target those who try and help themselves. Smoking-related illness, obesity-related illness, alcoholism, even dental decay are all lifestyle and diet choices. Treat these conditions by all means but limited until the individuals have stopped smoking, lost weight and changed their diets. The Nanny state should stop cosseting those who will not and care not help themselves.

    • John Thomas

      It is indeed time for our political class to act and Get Brexit Done!

      It is truly madness that the nanny state goes so far as to treat people with serious illnesses.
      Our beloved grandson started smoking recently, and I for one hope that should he contract a life threatening illness at some future point in his life, he will not want the nanny state to intervene and will let nature take its course. Of course, once we get Brexit done the NHS will be open to full competition from across the pond and its tendency to nanny sick people with ‘treatments’ will diminish.

    • Rosa Steppanova

      Having worked in the 3rd sector for several years in general and with individuals with addiction and other mental health issues in particular, I would like to point out to your readers that an addiction is an illness and not a lifestyle choice. Mr. Tinkler’s suggestion that such individuals are treated as the undeserving ill belongs to the Victorian era and not a caring 21st century society.
      Addiction is more often than not the result of traumatic life events and the subsequent coping with them i.e. “comfort eating”, “drowning sorrows”, “escaping”. Addictions are also often coupled with other illnesses such as reactive/endemic depression where individuals barely have the energy to get out of bed or brush their teeth, let alone visit a leisure centre for exercise.
      His suggestion that medical treatment for these individuals should be “limited” will not only make their conditions worse, increase their suffering (mental/and physical), but potentially endanger their lives, lives Mr. Tinkler doesn’t seem to care much about.
      His callous attitude and complete absence of empathy are spine-chilling.

  2. Peter Hamilton

    Hopefully Dr. Ian is bright enough to recognise how very sad his victim-blaming contribution is.

    Sociologists generally recognise the existence of structural violence. This is the harm done to people by the way society and the economy is structured.

    Some societies create more opportunity, more fairness and do less harm. They tax more, do a better job at looking after those in need and improve the life chances of those born into less favourable circumstances. Their citizens generally recognise this and support the approach, having been educated well enough to realise their position in society is something of a matter of the luck of who they were born to.

    If only Shetland’s apparent Nordic infatuation could provoke some interest in how Scandic states run their affairs. For the fifth richest country in the world the UK and Shetland’s level of dependence on food banks is hard to explain. Hard to explain, that is, unless we remember the uncaring and selfish kneejerk ignorance of so many of our fellow citizens and their chosen political representatives.

    Will the woeful ignorance Ian exemplifies continue to be harmful after Brexit? Yes. Sickeningly the Leave campaign has fed on, and feeds into, fear and blame.

  3. ian Tinkler

    Peter Hamilton, John Thomas and Rosa SteppanovaI, I stand by all I have said. Treat the addiction primarily, but if that fails, advanced and expensive treatment is futile! Palliative medicine only, until the clinically obese lose weight, the smoker gives up, and the alcoholic abstains!
    Look to Scotland, and its devolved NHS is a joke. Nicola Sturgeon, SNP, Secretary of Health, Deputy First Minister and First Minister, claims to have invested more in the Scottish NHS, than ever before. Glasgow Health board now declared, has been placed into “special measures” due to massive failures. Seven out of the eight targets set by Sturgeon for Scotland’s NHS have failed!
    Scotland has the highest suicide rate in Europe, Edinburgh is still The Aids and drug capital of Europe, and Glasgow citizens boast the shortest lifespan in the UK.
    Parrot on about Brexit if you wish, it could hardly be worse than the Sturgeon NHS!
    Health emphasis must be on prevention. Clearly, under the SNP Sturgeon’s health regimes, NHS Scotland is failing spectacularly. Concentrat on those who can be helped and cured. Not those hell-bent on self-destruction due to uncontrollable “comfort eating”, “drowning sorrows”, “escaping” As Rosa so eloquently highlights.

  4. Peter Hamilton

    Ian wants to prevent addiction illnesses by ignoring significant causes of addiction. Meanwhile he looks to ensure a cash starved NHS gets less cash after Brexit. For his next trick… oh never mind. Suffice to say it won’t be long before he is protecting the environment by slagging off environmentalists again.


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