A daughter who lost her father to a lung disease has launched a support group to help people affected by the same illness.

Sandeep Bansal, from Watford, organised the support group at Northwick Park hospital in North West London on February 22 alongside Dr Arnab Datta, after her father, Jagiit Singh Bansal, died of pulmonary fibrosis in May 2016.

The most common form of the disease, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) kills more than 5,000 people a year in the UK. It is a progressive lung disease which causes scarring of the lungs leading, ultimately, to respiratory failure.

The group set up at Northwick Park is the 50th in the country and is being supported by the charity Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis (APF). The groups provide support and help develop relationships between people facing IPF and carers.

Ms Bansal, who also lost her mother, Sawinder, in October 2016 to breast cancer, said: “The thing we all struggled with most was the lack of awareness of Pulmonary Fibrosis. Having the feeling that you just can’t breathe is enough to frighten even the strongest of people. Dad started to become seriously ill in December 2015, but earlier that year Mum had been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.

“When Dad needed around the clock care, Mum did not hesitate. My parents lost their battle within months of each other. We are a Punjabi Sikh family who believe in sharing the good times as well as the sad times. Watching my Mum rise to the challenge has inspired me to take this step. If she was able to help make our Dad’s life better whilst being unwell herself, then surely I can continue her good work."

Steve Jones from APF added: “We received an overwhelming response to our 50th support group meeting at Northwick Park Hospital. This clearly demonstrates the need for patient support and information.

“It was an empowering day and we are hugely grateful to Sandeep and the leading health professionals at Northwick Park Hospital for their support. Pulmonary Fibrosis affects all the family and to see the child of a patient so dedicated to helping others affected by the disease is inspiring.”

IPF mainly affects people over 50 years of age. There is currently no cure for pulmonary fibrosis. Some IPF patients are suitable for lung transplant but less than 1 per cent of IPF patents received a lung transplant last year.

APF aims to double the number of support groups in the UK to 100 by 2020.