A leading Scottish lung specialist will today highlight the need to build on recent progress and further invest in the national strategy to combat lung disease in Scotland as respiratory conditions, including pneumonia, asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, accounted for the death of 6,854 people in Scotland in 2017[i]

The call to action is part of a key-note speech by Dr Colin Selby, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at NHS Fife, to the British Thoracic Society (BTS) Winter Meeting in London (Wednesday 5th December 2018), where lung experts will discuss how national policy can help shape the future of lung care across the UK.

Dr Selby will argue that some real progress has been made in the fight against lung disease in Scotland (with fewer deaths from respiratory disease being recorded in 2017 compared to 2016)[ii], but further investment is needed in the national strategy to help deliver consistent positive outcomes for people with lung disease across the country.      

The most prevalent lung diseases in Scotland are asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Dr Selby will tell the conference that a well-funded national strategy for lung disease can help to:

  • Identify where gaps in services for patients with lung disease exist;
  • Ensure equal access of respiratory health services for all, with rural barriers being addressed;
  • Secure investment in proven treatments such as pulmonary rehabilitation (an exercise and education programme for people with chronic lung disease) which are currently patchy with a lack of integration between specialist national centres and healthcare providers in the community;
  • Highlight the current workforce shortage in lung specialists, which may be worsened by Brexit, and provide policy solutions. 

Dr Selby will tell delegates:

“Scotland has made a positive effort to reduce the burden of lung disease, for example by leading the way in introducing the ban on smoking in public places and in recent efforts to improve the prescribing of the most effective respiratory medicines. 

But we need to build on this with greater efforts to reduce air pollution, support people to improve their physical health though exercise and healthy nutrition programmes, and to personalise care for each individual.”

He added:

“Ill health from lung disease in Scotland has been, and continues to be, a significant issue, impacted by the legacy of heavy industry, inequalities of service, social issues, air quality and unhealthy lifestyle choices. These issues need to be addressed as part of a holistic national strategy – that focuses on delivering high standards of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of lung disease across the whole country.”




For more information prior to the British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting (i.e. before Wednesday 5th December 2018):


Please contact: 

Charlotte Sutton: t: 07958 279240

Alessandra McKenna t: 07967 976652

Ed Gyde t: 0780 9574801      


During the British Thoracic Society meeting (from Wednesday 5th to Friday 7th December 2018):

Please contact the BTS news media office on t: 020 7798 4543 / 020 7798 4541 or the mobile numbers above.

Note to Editors:

The British Thoracic Society is the UK’s professional body of respiratory specialists. The Society seeks to improve standards of care for people who have respiratory diseases and to support and develop those who provide that care.  A registered charity, it has about 3,500 members including doctors, nurses, respiratory physiotherapists, scientists and other professionals with a respiratory interest.

The British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting takes place between 5-7 December 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, London.

[i] National Records of Scotland, Scotland’s Population 2017 – The Registrar General’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends

[ii] ibid