South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament to mark Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Week 2020 (14 to 20 September).

IPF is a type of lung disease that results in scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs for an unknown reason. Over time, the scarring gets worse and it becomes hard to take in a deep breath and the lungs cannot take in enough oxygen.

The subject is personal for the local MSP, whose father died in 2013 from heart failure and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). He is a parliamentary champion on IPF and wants to take every opportunity of raising awareness of the issue.

Approximately 2,500 people in Scotland are living with IPF and across the UK, an estimated 6,000 are diagnosed with it every year.

Colin Smyth said: “In 2013 my dad died, and his life was shortened by Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, which is the buildup of scar tissue on the lungs.

“This isn’t something I talk a lot about but a couple of years ago I attended an event in the Scottish Parliament hosted by the British Lung Foundation who have led the way in seeking to raise awareness of the condition. I shared my family’s experience with consultants who were there because I was really struck by the fact that in the several years since my own dad had died, there had still not been a lot of change in the treatment of IPF which was still about managing the symptoms.

“There’s no cure and treatment is mostly about managing symptoms. The consultants said that part of the reason was a lack of research. It is a condition which is little known and therefore little investment has been made into research, despite the fact that 2,500 people are living with IPF in Scotland today.

“I am a parliamentary champion on the condition and I try my best to highlight the impact of a condition that thousands of people are diagnosed with every year. It is sad that there’s still no treatment which will make a difference to this condition but the more awareness which can be raised about IPF, hopefully more research can be carried out and this can start to change.”

Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Scotland, said: “We’re really grateful to Colin Smyth MSP for raising awareness about IPF in the Scottish Parliament and for all the MSPs who have supported the motion.

“Approximately 2,500 people in Scotland live with this incurable and life limiting condition, but it does not get the attention it needs. We need the Scottish Government to deliver its planned Respiratory Care Action Plan and invest in services that improve the quality of life for people with IPF.”

Colin Smyth’s motion reads: That the Parliament welcomes Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Week, which takes place from 14 to 20 September 2020; understands that approximately 2,500 people in Scotland are living with IPF and that, across the UK, an estimated 6,000 are diagnosed with it every year; acknowledges that it is an incurable and life-limiting condition, which results in a build-up of scar tissue in the lungs, restricting normal breathing; understands that current treatments can only mitigate the symptoms; notes the view that more research is needed to help people with the condition; encourages patients who are experiencing a persistent cough or breathlessness to contact their GP, even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and praises the British Lung Foundation for raising awareness and funding vital research to improve diagnosis and treatment, which it believes will allow people to have the chance of experiencing a better quality of life.”

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