Bid for practices to re-test for asthma and COPD

GPs could face a huge increase in workload after the British Lung Foundation called for all patients over the age of 35 diagnosed with asthma and COPD to be re-tested.

Spirometry Photograph: Haymarket Medical/J H Lancy
Spirometry Photograph: Haymarket Medical/J H Lancy

This comes after the results of a survey by the charity revealed that 80% of UK GPs find distinguishing between a diagnosis of asthma and COPD quite or very challenging.

The online survey of 776 GPs found that nearly a third - 32% - of GPs did not know how many patients in their practice had both COPD and asthma.

Additionally, one in 10 practices had no staff that could carry out or interpret spirometry tests.

Dame Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘We are calling for everyone over 35 with an asthma or COPD diagnosis to be retested and for this to be made part of the GP contract next year.’

But Dr Kevin Gruffydd-Jones, a GP in Wiltshire and a member of the General Practice Airways Group (GPIAG), warned that it would not be practical to do mass re-testing of all patients with asthma and COPD.


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