Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Pathway

The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Pathway defines the core components of an optimal service for people with COPD.

The NHS RightCare Pathway for COPD has been developed in collaboration with NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Respiratory Services, the British Lung Foundation, the British Thoracic Society, Respiratory Futures, the Primary Care Respiratory Society (PCRS-UK), and the National COPD Audit Programme. The pathway provides a national case for change and a set of resources to support local health economies to concentrate their improvement efforts where there is greatest opportunity to address variation and improve population health.

The resources in the Pathway also draw on a range of other national guidance and contain examples of best practice from across England to help make change on the ground.

The Pathway contains a number of key messages for commissioners and to emphasise their importance when using this product they are included here:

Commissioners responsible for COPD for their population should:

  • focus on the key components for COPD care across a system:
    • Ensuring early detection with accurate diagnosis
    • Optimising long-term management to reduce exacerbations, hospital admissions and premature mortality
  • work across the system to ensure that all priorities to optimisation are in place including the cross cutting themes:
    • Multidisciplinary supportive care approach
    • Signposting and care navigation
    • Psychological support, including for frightening breathlessness
    • Community activation to overcome social isolation and stay physically active, including peer support
    • Self-management plan supported by good information and patient training

Relevant links to support implementation are included throughout this resource.

A Respiratory Focus Pack for your CCG, to supplement the use of this Pathway, can be obtained by contacting your local Delivery partner

Local health economies, supported by their NHS RightCare Delivery Partner, can use this resource as a framework for their local improvement discussions, particularly during the ‘What to Change’ phase of their RightCare work.

NHS RightCare Pathways form part of the NHS RightCare Intelligence Programme.