Time to pump up the pressure


A report by Ray Walker on the Scottish Sleep Forum held at Stirling on Friday 20th March

The second topic of the day was what would be the last report from Judy Smith (nee Harris) on behalf of the British Lung Foundation Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Campaign.

Although the BLF are not removing OSA from their list of Respiratory Disorders, it would not have such a high profile as they feel they have achieved what they set out to do.

BLF set up guidelines for medical professionals to follow to ascertain the numbers of untreated or undiagnosed OSA patients and what they would require in facilities and staffing levels to rectify the problem.

Dr David Sword, consultant in respiratory medicine at Ayr, had completed the questionnaire/guideline, with the expected result that no NHS Authority would fund such a service.

Dr Sword felt that the only way to raise issues with the powers that be is to set up patient pressure groups. Perhaps an area that SASA could be useful in. 

My immediate thoughts were that this would mean possibly creating other local groups as I think it would be unfair to ask the likes of Tom Irvine to become involved when he covers such a large area. 

There was something like 3,600  untreated or undiagnosed OSA patients in Ayrshire alone, so one would assume an Ayrshire group could be formed.

It was an interesting discussion although somewhat depressing in the knowledge that with present and future restraints on NHS spending no Sleep Centre is going to be able to improve its services.

BLF had been active in approaching MPs, MSPs and Government Health Ministers. This is an area where I think they will continue to try to have an impact but to what extent this will be is unknown.

Quote from BLF website ~

“At both a national and local level, little data is available on the prevalence of OSA. This makes it difficult for commissioners in clinical commissioning groups to effectively commission services, such as specialist sleep services, for people with OSA. 

“Action is needed to provide the evidence base to understand the scale of the challenge of OSA at a national and local level, and to deliver services that meet those needs.”

Phyllis Murphie felt she could find someone to carry on the information gathering that BLF did, but keep it within Scotland. I think she was hinting that financial support from SASA could help expedite this work, to the extent that a report could be prepared in time for our Conference. She will be in touch.

It is good to maintain the contacts we have made since attending the SSF, and although some of the reports are a little over our heads there could be more progress made in supporting the services we have.

All present at the forum, including manufacturer reps from Resmed, Dolby Vivisol and Fischer Paykel, were made aware of SASA’s 2015 Conference, which will be held at Low Port Centre, Blackness Road, Linlithgow EH49 7HZ, on Saturday, 31st October.