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Respiratory disease

Respiratory disease affects one in five people and is the third biggest cause of death in England (after cancer and cardiovascular disease). The UK is in the top 20 developed countries for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) deaths and admissions with COPD are the third most common cause of death in England, with approximately 30,000 deaths per year.

Between 10-30% of people with COPD are not diagnosed until they are admitted to hospital with an exacerbation and only 13% of eligible COPD patients are referred to pulmonary rehabilitation services (these aim to improve patient outcomes and quality of life in 90% of patients who complete a programme). The UK is also one of the worst-performing developed countries ranking 35 out of 37 for asthma deaths in the 5-to-34-year-age range.

Working with partners our aim is to ensure:

(1) Early and accurate diagnosis by supporting: 

  • targeted expansion of quality assured spirometry training 
  • diagnostic capacity and capability in primary care to improve respiratory disease diagnosis 
  • research and piloting of artificial intelligence to interpret lung function tests 
  • work investigating the evidence and implementation of Smart inhaler use. 

(2) Medicines optimisation by: 

  • supporting clinical pharmacy to review and optimise prescription and use of inhalers to optimise management. 

(3) Pulmonary Rehabilitation by supporting: 

  • RCP pulmonary rehabilitation accreditation 
  • increasing availability of pulmonary rehabilitation 
  • opportunities to test combined models of provision with cardiac rehabilitation.

(4) Self-management by supporting:  

  • opportunities for diabetes-style education programmes for respiratory conditions. 
  • opportunities for personalised care through Primary Care Network link workers
  • ‘Test and learn’ demonstrators for joint Cardiac/pulmonary rehabilitation models.  

Find out more about our Population health and prevention programme.