Targeted funding for pulmonary rehabilitation and spirometry – 2020/21

The NHS Long Term Plan identified respiratory disease as a national clinical priority, with specific commitments on early and accurate diagnosis, medicines optimisation, pulmonary and combined rehabilitation, community acquired pneumonia and education options for respiratory patients.

The national respiratory programme has phase one funding available in 2020/21 for early and accurate diagnosis (focus on spirometry training) and expansion of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR).

In order for local systems to deliver on commitments set out in the NHS Long Term Plan; funding for spirometry training and pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) services for 2020/21 will be combined into a package to enable services to work together to improve respiratory pathways from diagnosis to treatment.  The rationale to combine the funding is to increase the focus on population health and support systems to develop into integrated care systems by 2021.

The level of funding each successful pilot site will receive will be subject to final agreement as part of the application process.

However, it is possible to apply for funding for spirometry or PR separately. If you wish to do this rather than apply for the combined package please discuss your application with the Clinical Policy Unit before applying at

Expressions of interest

COVID-19 has had a profound impact, not only on NHS services but also on the capacity of our workforce. Respiratory services have taken the burden in the management of acute COVID-19 patients, the full impact of which is still emerging through services and workforce capacity. In addition, regions are now planning for future surges of COVID-19 and winter pressures.

As a result, we have taken the decision to ‘pause’ the expressions of interest and re-start the process in January 2021, when services and colleagues have additional capacity and the financial situation is more stable.

If you would like any further information about the funding or guidance, please email

Evaluation of the pilots

The overall objectives for the funding are to improve early and accurate diagnosis and increase referral to and uptake of PR.  Specific metrics will be agreed as part of the MoU for sites, overarching metrics for all sites will include:

  • Number of patients referred to PR services (compared to baseline data)
  • Minimum data set metrics as outlined in the PR service guidance document
  • Number of healthcare staff trained to deliver and interpret quality assured spirometry, as evidenced by the national ARTP register
  • Health inequalities measure specific to each site, based on local population needs data

The evidence obtained will inform future national respiratory service developments.