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COPD diagnosis delays: the role of general practice nurses

02 December 2022
Volume 33 · Issue 12


A recent report from Asthma + Lung UK has found that a significant number of people are waiting for their COPD diagnosis

A report published by Asthma + Lung UK (2022a) has found that new chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnoses fell by 51% because of the pandemic, a quarter of people are waiting five years or more for a diagnosis, and delays have worsened since last year.

Delays in diagnosis can lead to loss of lung function, causing extreme breathlessness and difficulties performing everyday tasks. The report, based on a survey of 6500 people between January 2022 and April 2022, reveals that the average wait for COPD diagnosis is five years (Asthma + Lung UK, 2022a).

Up to 46 000 people missed out on a COPD diagnosis in 2021 (Department of Health and Social care, 2022), driven by lack of access to services such as spirometry.

Asthma + Lung UK is calling for the urgent prioritisation of quality-assured spirometry, particularly in primary care. Spirometry was halted during the pandemic due to infection concerns around COVID-19, even though guidance showed it was safe. It remains unavailable in many areas.

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