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July 2021

Respiratory patients ‘too scared’ to seek help

Around 2.6 million people with lung conditions in England are scared about accessing essential medical care after restrictions including the legal requirement to wear face coverings were dropped on so-called ‘Freedom Day’, according to new estimates from Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.

A survey of more than 650 people with asthma and COPD has revealed that:

  • 57% of people with lung conditions are more anxious about getting NHS care after 19 July – an estimated 2.6 million people
  • 88% said they thought restrictions are being eased too quickly
  • 93% said they thought the legal requirement to wear a face covering should remain

There are already barriers to people with lung conditions accessing care because of the pandemic. Earlier this year, the charity found that 1.3 million people with asthma who were at greatest risk of having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack had not had face-to-face care in over 12 months.

Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, says: ‘It’s completely unacceptable that 2.6 million people with lung conditions could be deterred from accessing vital medical care because of restrictions lifting after so-called “Freedom Day”. This could lead to people delaying their care or avoiding seeing their GP or practice nurse face-to-face and this could cause their condition to worsen.’

Practice Nurse 2021;51(6):8