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Welsh respiratory disease death rate drops dramatically

The number of people dying from respiratory diseases in Wales has fallen by 10% in a year, a new report revealed.

The first all-Wales annual report for respiratory services shows there was a 10% reduction in the overall rate of people dying from respiratory health conditions between 2013 and 2014, including a reduction of 8% in the overall death rate related to pneumonia between 2013 and 2014.

However, the uptake of the flu vaccination among people under 65 who are classed as being at risk is around 50% each year, below the target of 75%. Moreover, the average length of stay for people with pneumonia or flu was 11.2 days in 2014-15, considerably longer than other respiratory conditions.

This comes after the Welsh Government published a Respiratory Health Delivery Plan in April 2014, which covers five areas of lung disease: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, interstitial lung disease, obstructive sleep apnoea and acute respiratory infections.

Dr Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales, said: “The publication of this first all-Wales annual report for respiratory health brings together for the first time simple and clear information about how services for people with respiratory conditions are performing.”

He added that the third sector should be recognised for “supporting and caring for people with respiratory conditions and their families, without which the Welsh NHS would struggle to deliver such excellent service.”

Other key points include:

  • Emergency admissions related to respiratory conditions have fallen by 11.1% between 2013-14 and 2014-15. 
  • Smoking prevalence has fallen over the last 10 years, from 28% in 2004-2005 to 20% in 2014.
  • The amount of time a person spends in hospital with a respiratory condition has fallen gradually from 6.2 days in 2010-11 to 5.5 days in 2014-2015. A similar reduction has been seen for emergency admissions from 6.5 days to 5.5 days. 
  • The number of readmissions for respiratory conditions has fallen by 13% between 2010-2011 and 2014-2015.
  • Recruitment to clinical respiratory studies increased in 2014-2015 by 166 compared to the previous year.