Hi Jeremy, welcome to Respiratory Futures. Can you explain what prompted this study now? Is there anything significant about the report's timing in terms of what is currently offered out there at the moment?
With an aging population comes increases in long term conditions, including respiratory illnesses. Our Breathe Easy groups offer opportunities for people to benefit from peer support and useful information. Feedback and self-report from group members across the UK has for some time indicated that they believe their Breathe Easy group increases their self-care and wellbeing. This study provides us with independent validation of that claim from a respected academic institution.
Did the report focus on anything specifically?
The University of Kent was tasked with measuring to what degree Breathe Easy groups, working in partnership with respiratory services, reduce the burden of lung disease to individuals and to the NHS. Positive outcomes were reported on both counts.
How can busy clinicians and healthcare professionals engage with Breathe Easy?
All the groups included in the study benefited from healthcare professional attendance at a minimum of eight of their monthly group meetings each year. The project criteria included that Clinical Commissioning Groups recognise this support function as part of the role of their respiratory services.
What are the next steps for the model to be commissioned locally and what is BLF's role in helping to make it happen?
BLF has received grant funding from the Big Lottery to take the integrated Breathe Easy model UK-wide. Working in partnership with NHS organisations, the reach of Breathe Easy will be extended to the benefit of thousands more people affected by respiratory illness. This project will give us further opportunity to demonstrate to commissioners the value of the Breathe Easy model.
Further information on Breathe Easy groups: www.blf.org.uk/breatheeasy