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December 2018

COPD patients believe they would ‘get better care if they had a different disease’

Nearly one in three patients with COPD believe they would get more attention or better care if they had a different disease, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease, according to a new survey.

UK survey data supported by pharmaceutical company, Chiesi, also reveals that the more severe patients’ COPD is, the more likely they are to miss reviews due to illness than those in better health. Furthermore, when they are able to attend, the more likely they are to feel ‘rushed’ and ‘lectured’, and want more consultation time. This is despite the fact that motivation to attend reviews rises with disease severity. More than half (56%) of those unable to attend reviews due to illness also had previously experienced an exacerbation – suggesting that the system may be failing those in most critical need.

Dr Richard Russell, COPD Researcher, University of Oxford, Consultant Chest Physician Southern Health NHS FT, said: ‘This survey is an important look into the lives of patients with COPD. It is shocking to see that patients consider that they would receive more or better attention if they had other diagnoses. They are keen to feel better, manage their disease better and know more about their disease. To me, the results are a call to healthcare professionals to take COPD reviews seriously and make it as easy as possible for patients to attend, particularly those with severe disease.’

The patient experience survey gathered insights from 500 people from across the UK who have COPD, estimated to affect more than 1.2 million people in the UK. The results were released last month on World COPD Day.

The survey showed that of the 82% who had never missed a COPD review, their main motivating factors were to prevent worsening of their disease (67%); improve quality of life (52%) and to be in control of their condition (50%).

A key factor affecting review attendance was patients’ relationships with their healthcare professionals (HCPs). While 63% of patients said that they felt confident their HCP had the appropriate knowledge of their condition, some confessed to disliking the HCP and staff changes were cited as reasons for missing appointments.

Stephen Gaduzo, GP with a special interest in respiratory in Stockport and former Chair of the Primary Care Respiratory Society, said: ‘If a review is very one-sided, patients may feel lectured at, or not listened to, discouraging them from attending. But, when carried out well, these check-ups are the ideal opportunity for patients to learn how to improve their disease management, meeting their needs and not just tick-box exercises. I would advise all HCPs to ask their patients to fill out a COPD Patient Passport, available on the British Lung Foundation website, and bring it to their annual review, to ensure that their consultation is of best possible quality.’

Chiesi UK. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder Patients’ Experience Survey. November 2018.