All party action needed to tackle lung disease
(Queen’s Park): Ontario needs a provincial action plan for lung disease, says GPO leader Mike Schreiner.
The GPO is calling for all party support for Bill 41, the Lung Health Act. This act will establish the Lung Health Advisory Council and develop a lung health provincial action plan.
“The personal and public health costs of lung disease are staggering,” says Schreiner. “Of the four chronic diseases that are responsible for 8 in 10 deaths in Ontario, lung disease is the only one without a dedicated province-wide strategy. It’s clear that urgent action is needed to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of respiratory illness in Ontario.”
One in five children in Ontario schools has asthma. It’s the leading cause of kids missing school and needing emergency medical care. 11% of people over the age of 35 have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – that’s more than 870,000 Ontarians living with this progressively debilitating and incurable illness.
“I hope all parties can get behind a dedicated province-wide strategy to minimize the health and economic burden of lung disease in Ontario,” says Schreiner. “At the GPO, we will also keep pushing for better health-based air quality standards.”
An economic analysis by the Ontario Lung Association shows that the direct and indirect cost of lung disease is rising dramatically – from about $4 billion in 2011 to more than $27 billion this year and skyrocketing to an estimated $76.8 billion six short years from now. Unless we can change this, the cost of treating people with lung disease threatens to overwhelm our health-care system.
“Bill 41 is an important first step in establishing a plan to improve lung health in Ontario,” says Schreiner. “In meeting with health care providers, it’s evident that we need all parties to cooperate to get moving on a comprehensive strategy for lung disease.”
The GPO is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and good public policy to Queen’s Park.