Dr Eoin Murtagh, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, is the new President of Breathe Easy Causeway, the local subsidiary of the British Lung Foundation.
His appointment was announced at the December meeting of the Group, which was also attended by representatives from Ballymena Breathe Easy.
Dr Murtagh gave members a detailed and informative rundown on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, the serious lung disorder for which the British Lung Foundation has launched a nationwide awareness campaign.
At the same time he pledged the Northern Trust’s commitment to provide, despite severe economic constraints, the best possible care and attention to patients battling lung disorder.
Giving high praise to Breathe Easy Groups, Dr Murtagh said: “Not only are they a most important vehicle for fund and awareness raising but they provide a most valuable outlet for patients, their families and their carers to improve their knowledge on how best to cope with their problem and enjoy the best possible lifestyle.”
IPF, which cases a gradual scarring of the lungs, has been on the rise in the UK for decades, and now kills around 5,000 people a year.
Dr Murtagh told the Group that within the Northern Trust area with an adult population of just over 350,000, there were about 35 new cases a year of IPF.
He pointed out that there were regularly updated Guidelines for IPF and that within the Northern Trust there was a specialist diagnostic clinic based at the Antrim Area Hospital, led by himself and the BLF-badged Respiratory Nurse Specialist, Pat Gorman.
Mr Bill Blair, Chairman of Breathe Easy Causeway, said: “It is reassuring to know that there are people within the Health Service who are totally committed to providing the best possible care and advice for lung disorder patients.”
However, the meeting was not all about a serious lecture and debate on severe breathing problems. Members took part in, and thoroughly enjoyed a 20-minutes exercise programme, led by Ballymoney Fitness Instructor, Carol McClure.