2.8k in Derry with breath-robbing illness urged to take take part in programme

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Almost 3,000 Derry people suffering from breath-robbing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are being urged to take part in a self-management programme to help improve the quality of their lives.

NI Chest Heart and Stroke has launched a new ‘Breathing Better’ campaign to encourage GPs and pharmacists to refer the 2,887 people in Derry listed on the COPD register to the charity’s ‘Taking Control Self-Management Programme’.

Fiona Greene, NICHS Director of Care Services, said: “Our ‘Breathing Better’ campaign urges health professionals, GPs and Pharmacists to refer patients to one of our programmes which are run across Northern Ireland each year. Your referral might be the first step towards them developing the skills and confidence needed to better manage their condition and make a positive difference to their lives.”

COPD sufferer Frank Johnston said: “COPD caused me to have exacerbations or crises every six weeks, often I would end up in A&E not being able to breathe which was terrifying. I had to sleep sitting up, was forced to give up golf and became very sedentary waiting for the end. Taking part in the Taking Control Programme changed all that. Through careful management I can now sleep lying down, my lung function has improved and I’ve been able to take up golf again. Simply I have gone from a very dark place to having a future.”

Visit @nichstweet www.nichs.org.uk or telephone 02890-320184.