GP urged to audit records to find two million with undiagnosed COPD

GPs should carry out audits of patient records to help identify two million people with undiagnosed COPD, the DH has said.

Lung function test (SPL)
Lung function test (SPL)

The advice is included in a companion document to the outcomes strategy for COPD and asthma, which the DH released this week.

To improve COPD outcomes, the NHS should identify people whose treatment history and symptoms suggest that COPD may have been missed, the DH said.

‘Targeted case-finding can be done through auditing GP registers to identify people whose treatment history and symptoms suggest a diagnosis that COPD may have been missed or that COPD has been incorrectly diagnosed,’ it said.

NICE recommends that COPD diagnosis should be considered in people over 35 who have a risk factor (generally smoking) and who present with exertional breathlessness, chronic cough, regular sputum production, frequent winter ‘bronchitis’ or wheeze.

The outcomes strategy companion document also recommends that GPs should stratify their asthma registers according to people’s risk of having an exacerbation or losing control of their condition.

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