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New BLF report highlights steep increase in respiratory winter pressures: what primary care can do to reduce hospital admissions

A new report from the British Lung Foundation, to which PCRS-UK has contributed, highlights a steep rise in lung disease admissions to hospitals.

Called Out in the Cold’ the report reveals that:

  • Over the last seven years lung disease admissions to hospital have risen at over three times the rate of all other conditions (36.6% vs 11.1%).
  • There are 80% more admissions from lung disease in the winter months of December, January and February then there are in the warmer spring months of March, April and May.

Recommendations for primary care include:

  • Improve prevention by reducing general respiratory infections and helping people who have an existing lung condition to better manage it themselves. This includes ensuring people get the flu jab, have a supported self management action plan and take part in pulmonary rehabilitation.
  • Strengthen community care and support outside of hospital so patients are confident that they do not need to go to emergency departments to get the care they need.
  • Ensure that people leaving hospital are given consistent and reliable assessment, treatment and follow up in the community to reduce the risk that they’ll need to be readmitted to hospital.

Dr Noel Baxter, PCRS-UK Chair, who contributed to the report says: “Working in general practice can feel overwhelming during winter and we know that this is often down to the burden from respiratory illness. This report suggests that there are underused interventions which if applied more systematically throughout the year, could have a positive impact when winter comes such as smoking cessation, supported self care and higher rates of vaccination.

Use these PCRS-UK resources to:

  • Improve your skills in diagnosing and managing asthma.  Read the new PCRS-UK briefing paper which comments on the differences between the new NICE asthma diagnosis and monitoring guideline and the current BTS/SIGN asthma guideline and recommends the most practical approach for primary care.
  • Improve your skills in diagnosing and managing COPD:  Treatment guidelines for COPD – going for GOLD? is a consensus based article that sets out a simple treatment pathway based on the predominant characteristics of COPD for an individual – whether symptoms or exacerbations - distilled from current guidelines - see  https://pcrs-uk.org/treatment-guidelines-copd-going-gold
  • Support smokers to quit. Help patients stop smoking using the PCRS-UK wall chart 
  • Improve your knowledge of how supported self-management can improve the health of people with long term respiratory conditions.  This article in Primary Care Respiratory Update, will be available online from December 18 at https://pcrs-uk.org/pcru

Read Out in the Cold HERE:

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