Asthma + Lung UK launches new Respiratory Champions programme

The charity is launching an exciting new pilot programme in England, to improve care for people living with lung conditions.

Asthma + Lung UK is launching an exciting new Respiratory Champions pilot programme in England, aiming to improve care and outcomes for people living with lung conditions.

Supported by a grant from AstraZeneca, Asthma + Lung UK wants to work with six Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) to select a senior healthcare leader to become the ‘Respiratory Champion’ for their region.

1 in 5 people will have a respiratory condition in their lifetime. As such, respiratory conditions have been identified as a national healthcare priority as laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan, Core20plus5 strategy and the Life Sciences Vision.

ICBs are responsible for developing a plan for meeting the health needs of the population, managing the budgets and arranging for the provision of health services in a geographical area. In April this year, many ICBs will also see specialised commissioning delegated to them, from NHS England, including for severe asthma.  Respiratory Champions will be well-placed to ensure that respiratory care is prioritised and people living with lung conditions receive equitable and timely access to the best care.

Respiratory Champions will be funded for one day a week for 12 months, and will initially focus on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In partnership with the local clinical community, commissioning stakeholders, as well as people with lung conditions, they will aim to improve local policies, pathways, and clinician practice to make a real difference to patients. 

If the pilot is a success, the programme could extend into future years to include more ICBs and expand into the devolved nations.

Asthma + Lung UK believes that every breath matters - and that the right to breathe freely applies to everybody, regardless of income, age, ethnicity, gender, or background. 

Henry Gregg, Director of External Affairs at Asthma + Lung UK, said: “We’re really excited to be launching this new pilot programme, which will look at how we can improve respiratory care from the ground up. This is just the beginning of building a strong network of healthcare professionals who will promote best practice and really improve care and outcomes for people living with lung conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

Dr Ed Piper, VP, Medical & Scientific Affairs Director, AstraZeneca UK, said: “We are committed to transforming care for people living with chronic respiratory conditions. Partnership is key to improving outcomes and so we welcome this important initiative from Asthma and Lung UK which aims to support ICBs in meeting the unmet needs of their population living with respiratory conditions."

Asthma + Lung UK is the nation’s lung health charity dedicated to helping create a world where good lung health and the ability to breathe freely are a basic right enjoyed by all. From research and campaigning to advice and support, they are on a mission to change the way that lung health is perceived.

If you are interested in hearing more information about the programme and application dates, please contact Claire Fisher, Respiratory Champions Project Manager, at