Breathing Unequal

Our report found that people with lung conditions living in poverty are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital and more likely to die from their lung conditions. The report, based on findings from our survey of more than 14,000 people with lung conditions, also found that they are struggling to access the care they need.

What we found:

Of the poorest 20% of people who responded to our survey, our report found:

  • 70% live with uncontrolled asthma symptoms reducing their quality of life and increasing the risk of hospital admission and death;
  • 1 in 4 are impacted by breathlessness on a daily basis, interfering with their day-to-day activities;
  • 70% have had their income impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, and are struggling to afford their rent or mortgage, heating,
  • food, prescriptions, and other household bills;
  • 70% feel their lung condition has worsened and 61% feel that they need more support now than they did a year ago;
  • Only 37% were able to access same-day GP care, compared to 50.3% of the wealthiest 20%.

What we are calling for:

We are calling on the government to take urgent action to tackle these inequalities. We want to see the government:

  • Reduce the impact that the cost-of-living crisis is having on those with lung conditions by providing tailored financial support to people with lung conditions on low incomes
  • All national health services to roll out fully resourced respiratory strategies covering prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment
  • Establish a Cleaner Travel Access Fund to help those who need it most to transition to cleaner modes of transport
  • Strengthen tobacco control plans in each of the UK’s four nations
  • Ensure health inequality policies are co-produced with the communities they are designed to support, specifically those communities who have been most overlooked by policymakers, most at risk of lung conditions, and under-represented in policymaking
  • Improve the data collected within the NHS on respiratory patients and their outcomes, ensuring communities with lower incomes are included in data collection
  • Commit to long-term, outcome-based health inequalities funding for local authorities and integrated care systems

To find out more about our work: