British Lung Foundation launches patient passport for World COPD Day

On World COPD Day, taking place on 19 November, every GP surgery in the UK will receive the first nationally available COPD Patient Passport, aimed at ensuring chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients are getting the best care.

The passport has been developed by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) in partnership with the Primary Care Respiratory Society UK (PCRS-UK).

An interactive online version of the Patient Passport is also available, and can be used by patients to generate a printable personalised report, to use in discussion with their healthcare professional. The passport forms part of this year’s World COPD Day theme, ‘Living with COPD’, which encourages people affected by COPD to take control of the disease and live fuller, more active lives.

In addition, at 8pm on World COPD Day, the BLF and the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists will host a COPD Twitter chat for health care professionals and patients. It will cover issues such as early diagnosis and patient self-management. People can join the Twitter chat and ask questions via the hashtag #LiveCOPD.

COPD incorporates the conditions previously known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It kills around 30,000 a year in the UK – more than any type of cancer other than lung cancer – and can severely affect quality of life. However, of the estimated three million people living with COPD in this country, over two million remain undiagnosed without the support and treatment needed to help them manage the condition.

A COPD patient passport created by North West Respiratory clinical leads, respiratory specialists and patients was the inspiration for the BLF COPD Patient Passport.

Dr Noel Baxter, GP and medical adviser at the BLF, said: “Self-management has become increasingly crucial in a patient’s pathway. It can help reduce exacerbations and the number of COPD patients being admitted and readmitted to hospital.

“This new COPD Patient Passport will prove to be an invaluable tool for health care professionals to use with their COPD patients. It will help ensure patients are managing their condition as effectively as possible as well as receiving coordinated care. This could be as simple as referring them on to a local Breathe Easy support group or talking through their self-management plan.”

Symptoms of COPD include breathlessness, a persistent cough, excess mucus production and wheezing. It accounts for around 1.4 million GP consultations a year, and is the second most common cause of emergency hospital admissions in England. It has been estimated that a proactive approach to COPD care pathway management could save the NHS around £800m over 10 years. One in five people in the UK is affected by lung disease.

World COPD Day is organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with health care professionals and COPD patient groups throughout the world. The first one was held in 2002.

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