A new action plan for treatment of respiratory problems is set out in guidance published today for the NHS.
Some 45 best practice actions are outlined for the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma. The two can be confused due to similar symptoms and understanding the similarities and differences will help doctors provide better treatment. A key part of the new strategy is reducing the variation in COPD diagnosis and care around the country.
COPD kills around 23,000 people per year, and if the new guidelines are followed across the NHS then an estimated 7,800 lives could be saved annually. The NHS currently spends £1bn a year on COPD. It costs nearly ten times more to treat severe COPD than the mild disease, so improved diagnosis rates could deliver significant cost savings too.
NHS Chief Executive Sir David Nicholson said:
‘There are an estimated three million people living with COPD in England, and we want to ensure that best practice is used to improve outcomes for those with COPD and asthma.
We continue to improve our approach to COPD to one which is proactive and preventative and today’s document will give the NHS additional tools to follow the best practice in diagnosing, treating and managing the condition from its early stages.’
The NHS companion document for the outcomes strategy for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma in England aims to help medical professionals, commissioners and service managers to deliver on the five domains in the NHS Outcomes Framework:
• reduce mortality
• improve quality of life
• help people recover from episodes of ill health
• deliver a positive patient experience
• avoid harm.
See the outcomes strategy for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma in England published in July 2011.