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Rehabilitation Services Around NZ Patchy, Unfair

The Asthma Foundation
News Release
For immediate Use


17 November 2009

Patchiness of Rehabilitation Services Around NZ Unfair

‘If you are unfortunate enough to be a New Zealander with a respiratory illness such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis the pulmonary rehabilitation available to you depends on where you live and this is very unfair, says the Chief Executive of the Asthma Foundation, Jane Patterson.

Jane was speaking on the eve of World COPD Day (COPD is an umbrella term and stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis). She says that while the Asthma Foundation knows of many people whose lives have been transformed through pulmonary rehabilitation, it is a postcode lottery.

‘We are not talking about something rare here either,’ Jane says.

‘We estimate around 200 000 New Zealanders including more than 1 in 7 aged 45 and over live with COPD and they really need help whether they are in Invercargill, Wellington or Kaitaia. Wherever.’

‘The Asthma Foundation calls on the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, to give these New Zealanders with COPD a fairer go by ensuring respiratory rehabilitation programmes are accessible throughout Aotearoa for people that need them. This will avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

‘A lot of human misery can be avoided and we can reduce pressure on our struggling hospitals.’

Notes to editors:

1. The majority of people who develop COPD have smoked during their lives. However a small proportion of people who develop COPD have never smoked. These people may have been exposed to industrial dusts in their work or they may have an inherited genetic deficiency called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin.

ENDS

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