Department of Health

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The Department of Health has set up a Obstructive Sleep Apnoea  (OSA) Working Group with a brief to produce a report outlining recommendations for the Department of Health’s (DH) Respiratory Programme Board on a clinically effective strategy to improve outcomes for adults with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) from April 2013.

Consultant ENT surgeon, and founder of the Sleeping Disorders Centre, Michael Oko, welcomed the formation of the working group:

“I am looking forward to contributing to the work of DH in this important area. Awareness of sleep apnoea and its associated risks has been historically low, with many sufferers undiagnosed. However, evidence shows that the condition is widespread with around 4% of the population affected, and there is a growing body of evidence linking the condition to an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, diabetes, and other serious illnesses. The rising tide of obesity and cardiovascular disease, coupled with the increasing public awareness of sleep apnoea, will mean that diagnosis of sleep apnoea is set to keep rising and we will need to have a strategy in place to cope with this growth in demand for sleep apnoea services in the UK”.

The terms of reference of the working group, which met for the first time on 19 July, include identifying the quality and economic costs to the NHS of the burden of OSA; reviewing current initiatives and incentives to improve the quality of care for people with OSA; prioritising interventions that will have the most impact on improving quality, outcomes and procurement of equipment; highlighting the impact of OSA on patients with co-morbidities including those with hypertension, obesity, stroke, cardiovascular disease, heart failure and diabetes; and to align development of the strategy with the objectives of the Outcomes Strategy for COPD and Asthma and existing work undertaken by the BLF, BTS, ARTP Sleep and British Sleep Society.

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