Top health charities merge to bring significant benefits for those with lung disease

Asthma UK (AUK) and the British Lung Foundation (BLF) will merge after the final step in the formal process was completed last night (Monday 9 December).

Both organisations announced their intention to merge in November ahead of a vote by AUK’s members at an extraordinary general meeting on 2 December and a meeting of the BLF’s board of trustees yesterday.

With the formal preparations completed, the newly formed Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership is now looking forward to continuing to safeguard and improve the nation’s respiratory health.

The new organisation will strengthen and build on previous collaborations between the BLF and AUK, such as the Taskforce for Lung Health, BREATHE – the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health and campaigning to deliver safer air. It will make for a stronger force for research and support for those with asthma and other lung diseases.

The merger will save significant amounts on running costs, freeing up more funding for charitable purposes. It is expected up to £2 million could be released each year for world-leading research, support services and campaigning.

Kay Boycott, Chief Executive of the Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership, said: “This marks the start of a new era which promises to bring significant benefits to people affected by asthma and other lung diseases. Bringing together our joint vision and strategy will allow us to make even more impact, with more money to spend on ground-breaking research and support.

“Our new organisation will combine the energy and passion of the UK’s top respiratory health charities, creating a powerful voice for change.

“It is an absolute privilege to be the first Chief Executive of the new organisation leading the start up of this innovative new venture.”

The merger is a partnership of equals and will be directed by an executive team and trustees drawn from both AUK and the BLF.

The core charitable activities – research programmes, campaigning, helplines, and websites – of both organisations will continue and the BLF and AUK identities will still be used.

Leading experts in asthma and lung health welcomed the merger, saying it will bring real benefits to patients now and in years to come.

Notes for Editors:

Leading experts supporting the proposal to merge include: 

Professor Edwin Chilvers
Professor of Medicine, Head of the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London; Trustee, British Lung Foundation 
 
Professor Gwyn Davies  
Founding Director of Welsh Asthma Observatory, University of Swansea; Honorary Respiratory Consultant, Swansea Bay University Health Board 
 
Professor Christopher Griffiths 
Professor of Primary Care, Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Queen Mary University of London;  Co-Director, Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research 
 
Professor Ian Hall  
Director of the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham; Vice Chair, Asthma UK 
 
Professor Kasia Hawrylowicz 
Head of Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology, King’s College London; Co-Director, Asthma UK Centre for Allergic Mechanisms in Asthma; Professor of Immune Regulation in Allergic Diseases 
 
Professor Liam Heaney 
Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast; Consultant Physician, Belfast Hospital; Founder of National Registry for Difficult Asthma 
 
Professor Stephen Holgate CBE 
Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology, Medical Research Council; UK Research and Innovation Clean Air Champion, University of Southampton; Past President, British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and British Thoracic Society; Former Chair of the European Respiratory Society Scientific Committee 
 
Professor Sebastian Johnston 
Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London; CoDirector, Asthma UK Centre for Allergic Mechanisms in Asthma; Honorary Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, St Mary’s Hospital, London 
   
Professor Sir Michael Marmot 
President, British Lung Foundation; Professor of Epidemiology, University College London; Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity; Past President, World Medical Association 
 
Professor Mike Morgan 
Consultant Respiratory Physician, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Allergy and Thoracic Surgery, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust; Honorary Professor, University of Leicester; Former National Clinical Director for Respiratory, NHS England 
 
Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie OBE 
Professor of General Practice, University of Aberdeen; Chair/Leadership of independent reviews, reports and implementation groups, NHS Scotland; Trustee, Asthma UK 
 
Professor Ian Sabroe
Honorary Consultant Respiratory Physician, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Professor of Inflammation Biology, University of Sheffield; Trustee, Asthma UK 
 
Philip Seagrave
Former Co-Chair Lay Advisory Panel, Asthma UK 
 
Professor Aziz Sheikh OBE 
Chair of Primary Care Research and Development, University of Edinburgh; Co-Director Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research 

Caroline Smith
Co-Chair Lay Advisory Panel, Asthma UK  

Selina Thistleton-Smith
Former Vice President and Trustee, Asthma UK; founding Chair of Asthma UK Gift Fair 

Professor Rob Wilson
Former Chair, Asthma UK; Director of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Brompton Hospital, London