Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Assembly Member and Shadow Health Minister Angela Burns today hosted an event in the Assembly marking world COPD Day.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease better known COPD is the umbrella term for a group of lung conditions which cause breathing difficulties. They include emphysema – damage to the air sacs in the lungs and chronic bronchitis – long-term inflammation of the airways.
There are over 76000 people living with COPD in Wales of which 9462 reside in the Hywel Dda Health Board area. The condition is often debilitating and can have a major impact on sufferer’s quality of life.
The event, which was organised by the British Lung Foundation, heard from Dr Simon Barry the Welsh lead on COPD as well as facilitating a group discussion with patients and their families to further discuss COPD care.
Commenting following the event Angela said
“COPD is a condition which affects mainly middle aged or older people and is one which in many cases can be prevented by improving the quality of the air that we breath.
“It is certainly an issue that we can do something about by working to further reduce smoking rates and reducing the levels of harmful carbon emissions.
“I have called on the Welsh Government to follow the UK’s ambitious targets to reduce levels of particulate matter by 30% next year and by 46% by 2030.
“It is especially concerning to learn that Wales has some of the worst air quality in the UK, considering our relatively low population density and our smaller cities and the Welsh Conservatives are supporting calls to enforce legislation aimed at reducing cars running their engines when parked as well as looking at ways of reducing traffic pinch points on our major roads.
“There is some great work going on in treating COPD and today’s event helps to highlight it. There are small changes that we can make to ensure that the air that we breath in is cleaner and more pure, reducing the number of those people suffering with COPD and making the lives of those that do have it better.”