A group of national health bodies, including the National Pharmacy Association, have come up with an action plan to improve outcomes for the significant numbers of people living with COPD in the UK.
The National COPD Policy Action Plan is calling on clinicians and policymakers to take urgent action for policy and system reform to drive improvements in the outcomes of people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Launched on World COPD Day on 17 November, the plan initiated by the ACT on COPD National Working Group which is convened and funded by AstraZeneca, was developed in partnership with the Primary Care Respiratory Society, the British Lung Foundation, the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care and the NPA.
The policy paper aims to achieve three things: Accelerate early and accurate diagnosis, reduce clinical inertia and focus on prevention and minimise health inequality and variation in care.
In his forward, Professor John Hurst, Professor and Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at University College London (UCL) and Royal Free Hospital and Chair of the UK ACT on COPD National Working Group writes:
“COPD is the fifth most common cause of death in the UK, causing nearly 30,000 deaths every year in England alone.
“Despite this disease burden, COPD does not receive adequate recognition and prioritisation. Even though national ambitions exist, including those within the NHS Long Term Plan and the Government’s Life Sciences Vision, to reduce the number of people who die prematurely from respiratory conditions, the system is not currently fully equipped to meet these ambitions.”
He adds: “We need to work together as an entire COPD community to reduce morbidity and premature mortality from COPD. As well as outlining our ambitions for reform, this plan includes actions that we can all take to get us there; whether that’s through calling for national policy change, playing a part in the prioritisation of initiatives at a system level or changing practice at a grassroot level.”
Helga Mangion, Policy Manager at the NPA says: “We support these proposals which outline positive action on a disease that causes ill health and significant mortality.
“Pharmacy already has a place in the COPD patient pathway by virtue of the supply of medicines. As medicines experts pharmacists can also help those with COPD stay out of hospital, by showing correct inhaler techniques, providing medicines management and delivering smoking cessation services. Pharmacies can provide these services near to where patients live and improve patient choice and access.”
To view the action plan click here.