MORE people with breathing problems on the south coast could be treated thanks to a new NHS respiratory action plan.
Department of Health figures show 42 per cent of people in this area may not be aware they have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is mainly caused by smoking.
The government has now published new guidance, which it believes if followed could save around 7,800 lives each year.
And it believes improved diagnosis will help save millions of pounds over 10 years in treating COPD.
Health Minister Simon Burns said: ‘COPD causes irreversible lung damage and often by the time people are correctly diagnosed it’s too late. The earlier we catch the disease, the better.
‘We’re encouraging GPs to look for patients who are at risk and make sure they’re properly tested and diagnosed.
‘With proper diagnosis and treatment we can make a big difference in the quality of life for people with COPD.’