A greater focus on improving early and accurate diagnosis of respiratory disease is called for in a National Five Year Plan for Lung Health published today (Dec 5).
The aim of the plan, launched by the Taskforce for Lung Health, a collaboration between 29 respiratory organisations, including PCRS, is to “create a society where everyone can live with healthy lungs for as long as possible and have the best chance of living well, or recovering, when lung disease develops.”
Its recommendations for change include:
- All health care professionals should be trained in offering very brief advice on smoking cessation
- A clear patient pathway with services for timely, accurate and complete diagnosis should be created for all people with breathlessness and other respiratory symptoms
- A formal referral system should be developed to enable community pharmacists to refer people directly to general practice
- A single consistent guideline should be developed for diagnosis and management of asthma
- Targeted case-finding should be introduced for people who have symptoms suggestive of COPD in general practice with follow-up care and services
- All health care professionals working with respiratory patients should be trained and upskilled in inhaler use and technique to ensure patients take their medication correctly
- Every person with lung disease should have a personalised care and support plan.
- Access to pulmonary rehabilitation should be improved so that every person with an MRC breathlessness score of grade 2 has the opportunity to complete, a programme
- The use of non-pharmacological treatments for breathlessness and cough should be expanded
- All health care professionals should be able to offer basic end of life care advice.
Dr Noel Baxter, PCRS Chair says: “This report highlights a number of areas that PCRS has been working on for some time and has resources to support clinicians with. See our pragmatic guide to treating tobacco dependency, our Primary Care Respiratory Update articles on breathlessness and key resources we have published in the last year for effective diagnosis of asthma and management of COPD.
“PCRS supports the call for achievement in basic standards of diagnosis and management where general practice and community practice is so important"
Carol Stonham, PCRS Vice Chair, says: "The BLF Taskforce for Lung Health Report focuses on areas that make a difference to people with respiratory conditions. Maintaining healthy lungs through prevention of lung disease, and accurate early diagnosis of respiratory conditions are just two of the recommendations that those working in primary and community care can deliver.
“PCRS supports clinicians to do this well through education, networking, peer support and by producing tools and pragmatic guides."