Help with safety and COPD



GP registrars will be given specific training in promoting patient safety and preventing incidents in general practice through new guidance being launched jointly by the RCGP and the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).

The guidance will be contained in the new RCGP training curriculum for GPs, due to be introduced in summer 2007, subject to approval by the Postgraduate Medical Education Training Board.

The curriculum statement advocates embedding patient safety at individual doctor-patient level, GP practice level and community level. It recommends working with patients to assess and discuss risk and design solutions to prevent incidents occurring. It also looks at when GPs and their clinical teams should report patient safety incidents and how they can learn from them to prevent them from happening again.

The curriculum draws largely from the NPSA's 'Seven steps to patient safety for primary care'.


The General Practice Airways Group (GPIAG) has launched a user-friendly template designed to improve the diagnosis and management of COPD in line with the quality and outcomes framework and current NICE guidelines.

Once the software is loaded onto the practice clinical system, it prompts GPs and practice nurses to record detailed information, ensuring a well-structured COPD patient review. The template also prompts for an assessment of severity based on symptoms (the MRC dyspnoea score), exacerbation rates and BMI.

Patients will also benefit from thorough, consistent assessments because the template encourages a holistic approach to the management of COPD by asking about depression and referral to pulmonary rehabilitation as well as the management of more severe disease by prompting for long-term oxygen assessment and referrals where necessary.

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