Respiratory disease is a clinical priority within the recently published NHS Long Term Plan. This has the overarching objective of improving outcomes for people with respiratory disease. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out how the NHS will take action in a number of areas, including expanding programmes that support earlier diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and increasing access to treatments.
From 2019, the National Health Service will build on the existing NHS RightCare programme to reduce variation in the quality of spirometry testing (one of the tests used to diagnose COPD).
The NHS is also planning to roll out the lung health check programme, which targets those most at risk of cancer. Based on the pioneering schemes in Manchester and Liverpool, the lung health check will not just identify more cancers quickly, but will also pick up cases of COPD.
The NHS Long Term Plan also sets out the NHS’ ambition to improve access to treatments for COPD. Over the next 10 years access to pulmonary rehabilitation will be expanded.