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I absolutely agree. Carers have an important role in how we integrate health and social care, and we should never underestimate the role they play in providing care for close relatives and friends. The hon. and learned Gentleman is right.
It is only with integrated care that complications can be spotted earlier and hospital admissions potentially avoided. Regular reviews with a patient’s health care team, including information-sharing with other parts of the NHS, can make all the difference. However, there is also a lot to be said for the provision of far more advice and help to those caring for people with COPD.
Labour has said that it will guarantee a single point of contact for people with complex physical and mental health conditions—somebody with the authority to get things done. We will also establish the right to a personalised care plan, developed with the individual and their family, tailored to personal circumstances and not restricted by service boundaries. Patients with conditions such as COPD will also have the right to access peer support and advice from others learning to manage the same condition, which could prove helpful.
I commend the hon. Member for Stevenage on his hard work in advancing the cause of those with respiratory health conditions. Irrespective of the general election outcome, which is largely out of the control of all of us, this issue must be an absolute priority for whomever forms the Government in the next Parliament, and I give the hon. Gentleman a commitment from the Labour party that, if we find ourselves on the Government Benches, it will be.