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The lives of former pitmen with chronic chest complaints from years of working underground are being transformed by a pioneering centre in South Yorkshire.
The Breathing Space hub at Rotherham was set up as a pilot scheme six years ago at a cost of £11 million.
Today it is a thriving centre staffed by 60 nurses which is helping to improve the quality of life for many former miners and steelworkers.
David Hirst reports:
Many former miners and steelworkers suffering from chest disease have seen their quality of life improved thanks to a pioneering centre.
The £11 million Breathing Space hub in Rotherham provides a dedicated service for ex-miners like Bill Goddard, who has chronic chest disease from the time he spent as a faceworker at Manvers pit in the Dearne Valley.
The centre has become a model of care and is a national pilot:
A revolutionary treatment centre in South Yorkshire set up to help former miners with breathing difficulties has been making strides into improving their health.
The Breathing Space centre has helped reduce reported cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis in the area to 30 per cent below the national average.
A report by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust found that former mining communities suffer worse health and social issues than the rest of the country, particularly relating to respiratory illnesses.
- 11.7% of people living in the coalfields communities report long-term health problems, compared to 8.6% nationally
- 8.4% of adults of working age in former mining towns and villages claim incapacity benefit, which is 2.2% higher than the national average
- 7.9% - some 440,000 people - claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which is a staggering 50% higher than the GB average