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Fit to Care

Key Knowledge, Skills and Training for Clinicians Providing Respiratory Care

People living with respiratory disease require a significant amount of support, guidance and intervention to manage their condition effectively. These interventions should be delivered by clinicians with an appropriate level of expertise in this field. There is currently variation in the standard of respiratory care provided to patients, demonstrated by national reports such as the National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD)1 and the COPD Audit.2 This variation is affected not only by the services patients are engaged with/referred to but also the level of training, education and experience of the clinicians responsible for the provision of such care.

We recognise that, although there are respiratory specialists working within the UK who have taken a clear focus on respiratory disease, there is a wider community of practitioners who work as generalists but are still heavily involved in the day-to-day management of this patient group.

The aim of this document is to provide guidance for commissioners and clinicians to the skills, knowledge and training required by healthcare professionals working with patients with a respiratory condition in a primary or community care setting.

1. Royal College of Physicians. Why asthma still kills: the National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) Confidential Enquiry report. London: Royal College of Physicians, 2014.
2. Royal College of Physicians. COPD: Who cares when it matters most?’ National COPD Audit Programme: Outcomes from the clinical audit of COPD exacerbations admitted to acute units in England, 2014. London: Royal College of Physicians, 2017.