A community support group for Wiganers who suffer from chronic respiratory problems will relaunch this month at a new venue.
Organisers are hoping to attract new membership and volunteers for the initiative which will offer advice and support to compliment medical treatment.
The inaugural meeting of the South Lancs Respiratory Support Group will take place at the Douglas Bank on Woodhouse Lane from 1pm.
Bob Parry, who has formed the group, has organised community support schemes for residents with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for many years.
He said: “We’re hoping to attract new members to accompany those who have been part of our previous groups. The meetings give people a sense of community to get out and share time with others with similar conditions.”
COPD is an umbrella term to describe many progressive lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma and forms of bronchiectasis. Mr Parry’s groups - which are supported by the NHS - have also offered assistance to residents who suffer from sleep apnoea, a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep.
It will meet at the same venue on the first and third Wednesday of each month.
The borough has traditionally had comparatively high rates of lung disease due to its coal mining and cotton industry heritage although the number of cases has seen a steady decline in recent years.
On a national level, a recent audit report claimed those suffering from COPD are being “failed” by the healthcare system. Patients are regularly being admitted and discharged from hospitals on a “continuous cycle”, the latest National COPD Audit Programme report states.
The report, from the Royal College of Physicians, found that 43 per cent of patients admitted were readmitted at least once in the three months following discharge - a “considerable” increase in readmission rate.
They wrote: “The impression provided by the data is of a system that is not only stressed, but is ultimately failing COPD patients.”
But the audit stresses there have “undoubtedly been improvements in COPD care”, with the percentage of patients dying in hospital decreasing.
Mr Parry said he is particularly in need of a new member who can perform the role of group secretary. For more information contact 07591496900.