GPs to face checks on COPD care

GPs in England and Wales will be scrutinised over the care they provide for COPD patients from 2013 under a 'ground-breaking' audit ordered by ministers.

Spirometry: GPs face checks on COPD care (photo: Jim Varney)
Spirometry: GPs face checks on COPD care (photo: Jim Varney)

Data on COPD outcomes will be continuously extracted from GP practice computer systems from next year to assess how well GPs are managing the condition.

‘Snapshot audits’ will assess the quality of primary care COPD services under the programme, which will be led by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) on behalf of the DH.

These data will join assessments of secondary care, rehabilitation services and patient experience to judge how the NHS as a whole performs on COPD care.

The audit programme was launched at the British Thoracic Society winter meeting on Friday.

Over six million people in England suffer from COPD or asthma and respiratory disease accounts for 23,000 deaths a year in the country.

Under the programme, audit data will be used to assess NHS outcomes against gold standards. Hospitals will face ‘snapshot audits’ of admissions for COPD exacerbation and outcomes at 30 and 90 days. Pulmonary rehabilitation services will be checked for service quality and availability.

The audit will be clinically led by the Royal College of Physicians, the Primary Care Respiratory Society, the British Thoracic Society and the British Lung Foundation.

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