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How we created a COPD pathway

Dr Peter Weaving explains how GPs in Cumbria created a new patient pathway for COPD care

Each year we spend about three million pounds admitting patients to hospital with exacerbations of COPD. We looked at the entire patient pathway from starting smoking, diagnosis, primary and secondary care through to palliative care and death. We identified weaknesses in the pathway and put together a raft of strategies and planned changes to improve the service:

1. Education for primary care staff around diagnosis and treatment

2. Met. Office Health Forecasting - early warning and telephone support for patients

3. Short Term Rapid Response Community Teams

4. Enhanced community based respiratory nurse specialist support for patients and practices

5. Revised oxygen prescribing

6. Increased availability of pulmonary rehabilitation

7. Engaged palliative care teams with these patients

The challenge then for the commissioner is to determine which of these changes produced the biggest impact.

Dr Peter Weaving is a GP in Brampton, Cumbria and commissioning locality lead for NHS Cumbria

Dr Peter Weaving