Australian COPD and Patient Advocates Group Report (CPAG)
Hello readers and welcome to my first article as the new Chair of CPAG. I hope that my experiences with COPD and pulmonary fibrosis, resulting in a double lung transplant in 2013, will be of value to CPAG members, patients and Support Groups and Lung Foundation Australia as a whole.
I, along with Deputy Chair Caroline Scowcroft and the other members of CPAG, sincerely thank Megan Rushton for her work as Chair of the Group over the past year and as Secretary and member before that. Megan’s dedication and commitment has helped the Lung Foundation provide support to the many patients living with chronic pulmonary illnesses in Australia.
The number of deaths in Australia each year directly related to COPD is over 5,000 and the number of COPD patients who are recipients of double lung transplants is only around 50 each year in Australia. Continued action is also required to assist patients, through pulmonary rehabilitation and patient support programs. More broadly, the community should regularly “check in with their lungs” and, as with any medical issue, early detection and management is vital.
Over the next year, CPAG will be representing fellow patients by assisting the Lung Foundation in three key areas:
- Advocacy: We will be looking at two major concerns of the Group and patients – air pollution and oxygen use (particularly in relation to travel).
- Consumer Education: CPAG regularly provides feedback on patient education brochures to ensure they are suitable for patient reading. CPAG is also assisting the Lung Foundation with the development of a brand-new online education program for patients that will be available in late 2014.
- Awareness Raising: World COPD Day is on Wednesday 19 November and CPAG plans to help Lung Foundation Australia make this year’s event bigger and better than ever to raise more awareness of COPD. I am very excited about this event as World COPD Day in 2010 was my first involvement with Lung Foundation Australia, shortly after I was diagnosed with COPD. We hope to engage with other patients and carers to distribute awareness messages within their local communities.
We would welcome the opportunity to connect with LungNet News readers around these areas and I also encourage you to visit our new page on the Lung Foundation’s website www.lungfoundation.com.au/patient-area/patient-advocacy to keep up to date with our activities.
I look forward to working with the existing and new members of CPAG.