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New NHS RightCare Pathway for COPD published

NHS RightCare, an NHS England supported programme committed to delivering the best care to patients as efficiently as possible, has published a pathway for COPD.

NHS RightCare, an NHS England supported programme committed to delivering the best care to patients as efficiently as possible, has published a pathway for COPD.

The pathway has been designed to help NHS organisations in England know what care and services should be provided for people with COPD in their area, based on the evidence available.

PCRS-UK has had four clinicians working closely with the NHS RightCare team to develop the pathway alongside other respiratory organisations and the National Clinical Director for respiratory disease, Professor Mike Morgan.

The document comprises a single chart describing what a local area should provide for its people with COPD. This is backed up by a series of charts outlining the evidence base for each intervention and service recommended, and examples of where this has been implemented. It also includes a system pathway for COPD, developed by PCRS-UK’s Service Development Committee, illustrating the services from prevention through to end of life care that are needed across the system to provide a comprehensive service for COPD patients.

While this NHS RightCare COPD pathway has been developed for England, the principle of mapping out the services required for COPD at a local level can be applied in any part of the UK.

Dr Sanjeev Rana, GP, clinical commissioner, and member of the PCRS-UK Service Development Committee who has been involved in developing the pathway, says: “This document will enable commissioners at both STP and CCG level to review and inform their local COPD service provision so that COPD patients are risk stratified and then seen by the most appropriate part of the healthcare system whilst also empowering patients through self-management and community activation."

Dr Daryl Freeman, GP and PCRS-UK East of England lead, who has also been involved in the development of the pathway, says: “NHS RightCare is really focused on implementing improved care based on what we know works in practice, not just describing what good care should look like. It is hoped that this document will form the basis of a renewed drive to care for our patients with COPD, coordinated across all sectors of care.”

What healthcare professionals can do:
While this pathway is focused at system level, we would encourage you to consider:

  • Your own provision of services within the pathway
  • The services you need to have available to refer COPD patients to, in appropriate and accessible locations, and with adequate capacity for local needs
  • Having conversations with those involved in commissioning services to guide priority areas for investment and service change.

What commissioners should do:

  • Focus on the key components for COPD care across whole systems:
    • Ensuring early detection with accurate diagnosis
    • Optimising long-term management to reduce exacerbations, hospital admissions and premature mortality. 
  • Work across the system to ensure that all priorities for optimisation are in place including
    • A multidisciplinary supportive care approach
    • Self-management plans
    • Signposting and care navigation
    • Community activation to overcome social isolation and help keep patients physically active
    • Psychological support, including for frightening episodes of breathlessness

Access the NHS RightCare COPD pathway HERE 

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