Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament to mark Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Week 2021 (20 to 26 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). Colin is a parliamentary champion on IPF and wants to take every opportunity to raise 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 build-up 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.”

Colin Smyth’s motion reads: That the Parliament notes that 20 to 26 September is IPF Week 2021; understands that idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive lung condition that worsens over time, has no cure and affects an estimated 2,500 people in Scotland; notes that the condition results in scarring of the lungs for unknown reasons and, when this gets worse, it becomes harder to take in a deep breath and the lungs cannot take in sufficient levels of oxygen; welcomes the awareness raised by Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Scotland, Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis and other lung and chest charities on IPF and the support that they provide to people living with the condition; and commits to ensuring that people with IPF symptoms are effectively and timeously diagnosed, and to ensure that they receive the correct support and treatment after diagnosis.”

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