Campaign aims to get Bradford Breathing Better

A new campaign has been launched by local clinical leaders to support patients of all ages with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

There are almost 30,000 people in the Bradford CCGs’ area with asthma, and just under 10,000 more have COPD – a serious lung disease which makes breathing more difficult.

Bradford Breathing Better

One person dies from COPD every 20 minutes in England – that’s 23,000 deaths a year. It is the second most common cause of emergency admissions to hospital and one of the most costly inpatient conditions to be treated by the NHS.

COPD is a condition which does not get better and is very debilitating for people living with it, and 80% of COPD patients have at least one other long-term condition.

Bradford Breathing Better (BBB) aims to improve the pathways of care from diagnosis: ensuring improved management of respiratory diseases so that avoidable hospital admissions are reduced. Providing good quality, evidence-based clinical care is the key to the campaign’s success.

NHS Bradford City and NHS Bradford Districts CCGs have developed the programme for children and adults, which is being supported by all GP practices in the area.

Patients registered at their practice as having COPD or asthma will be offered support to help them understand their condition, how their medication works and how to manage when symptoms get worse by learning more about self-care.

It has been reported that almost 40% of patients do not take their medication properly or follow recommended lifestyle advice. It is hoped that the BBB programme will give people the tools and techniques to help change this and improve the respiratory health of local patients.

COPD is linked with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular (CVD) disease, and having depression and/or an anxiety disorder. Over 50% of people currently diagnosed with COPD are under 65.

There are 1,000 deaths from asthma each year in the UK – most of which are preventable. Up to 10% of adults have asthma, and the UK has the highest prevalence in the world. It is a fact that 80% of spending on treating people with asthma is spent on the 20% with the severest symptoms, and about 12,000 people could still remain undiagnosed with asthma in Bradford.

The highest rate of hospital admissions for asthma patients is during the evening and night-time.

Respiratory disease is responsible for large numbers of non-elective hospital admissions – some of which are avoidable. For every 100 people on the COPD disease register, there are an estimated 15 emergency admissions each year – with each one costing on average £2,000.

Like COPD, asthma is also responsible for large numbers of hospital admissions – most of which are emergency admissions. For every 100 people on the asthma disease register, there are an estimated four emergency admissions each year, each costing £1,500.

Evidence suggests that up to 90% of respiratory patients do not use their inhaler medication effectively - people tend to underuse their 'preventer' inhalers and overuse their 'reliever' inhalers. People also tend to throw away their inhalers before they are empty.

Better use of medication for asthma and COPD can help people to manage their condition and avoid going into hospital - and recycling inhalers after use is good for the environment.

Millions of people in the UK have breathing difficulties but many do not use their inhalers effectively, potentially putting their lives at risk. People can discuss their inhaler technique the next time they see their GP/practice nurse or local pharmacist for a medication review.

Dr Chris Harris, clinical lead for long-term conditions at Bradford Districts CCG, said: “Being diagnosed with a condition like COPD is life-changing and we recognise that patients need help and support to deal with the diagnosis, and to learn to live with their condition.

“We know that things like stopping smoking, pulmonary rehabilitation and correct medication are vital to help patients with respiratory conditions. We also know that rehabilitation has been shown to improve how patients feel and how they are able to function; for example by improving the distance they can walk independently and the length of time they can walk for: this is really important for people with COPD to be able to live their life.

"It’s also essential that patients with asthma use their inhalers effectively. We know that many are getting only a small fraction of the drug entering their lungs and some none at all but many believe they are using their inhalers in the proper way. So we are urging all patients to ask their local pharmacist, practice nurse or GP to check their technique."

COPD and asthma patients should always have a care plan which has been developed in conjunction with their practice to manage their condition and know what to do if they have a flare-up.