The Government’s mandate to NHS England sets out the requirement for the National Health Service to demonstrate progress on preventing people from dying prematurely from respiratory disease. NHS England and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have responsibility for determining the overall national approach to achieve this and improving clinical outcomes from healthcare services for people with respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Early diagnosis of COPD plays an important role in maximising the ability to manage the condition. NHS England is currently working with several pilot sites exploring different approaches to diagnosis for people with symptoms of breathlessness.
The CCG Outcomes Indicator Set also includes indicators to support CCGs to understand the progress they are making in improving outcomes for people with COPD including:
- referrals of people with COPD to a pulmonary rehabilitation programme; and
- unplanned hospitalisation for people with chronic ambulatory care sensitive conditions (which includes COPD).
NHS Improving Quality in collaboration with Primary Care Information Services has developed a tool for primary care to help general practitioners improve the detection and management of COPD. It is also currently piloting new models of care for breathlessness with the aim of improving the speed and accuracy of diagnosis. This will enable patients to access appropriate treatments and therapies more quickly, improving their clinical outcomes and quality of life. COPD patients are likely to benefit from this as one of the chief causes of breathlessness is COPD.