Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Background Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an 'umbrella' term for people with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both.  Data collected from the Quality and Outcomes Framework in 2005/06 shows that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease affects 1.87% of the population - more than 57500 people in Wales. (Source: Welsh Medicines Resource Centre Bulletin June 2008)
For more information on the condition from a patient’s perspective see the NHS Direct Wales link to the right.


Policy Context

The publication Service Development and Commissioning Directives: Chronic Respiratory Conditions aims to ensure that the right services are provided in the right place, at the right time, and by the right person by refocusing services and resources to meet local needs. Care pathways for the effective treatment and management of these conditions will become the bedrock of service provision, supported by timely assessment and accurate diagnosis. The provision of services by integrated multidisciplinary and multi-agency teams will also become a key feature of managing these conditions across primary, secondary and social care where individuals will be supported to understand more about their condition and given increasing confidence to self-manage wherever appropriate.


What are we doing about COPD in NHS Wales?

The aim is to improve prevention, detection and management of chronic conditions locally, through an integrated, holistic approach, based on targeted, proactive population management, supported by care pathways self-management and community support.
  • Improve healthy lifestyles and well being in the community
  • Prevent and delay the onset and early deterioration of  chronic conditions
  • Improve the quality of life for people living with chronic conditions
  • Reduce the impact of chronic conditions on secondary care and care homes
  • Increase self management, independence, and the participation of people with chronic conditions and their careers
  • Improving the quality of patient care closer to home
  • Improve prescribing and medicines management
  • Reduce health inequalities and improve economic activity




Stop Smoking Wales is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and is an integral part of the Public Health Service Wales where it forms a central element of the the Tobacco Control programme. 

The home oxygen needs of patients are met by a single supplier which has the expertise to make decisions on the best service for each individual. Patients will receive an improvement in their assessment procedures which will normally be undertaken in a secondary care setting, and they will have around-the-clock access to a central freephone (0800 373580 in Wales) for all their oxygen requirements.



The Education Programmes for Patients Cymru (EPP) provides a range of self-management courses and workshops for people living with long-term health conditions or for those who care for someone with a long term condition.  


The NHS Choices - COPD Video

The video features Dr Keith Prowse Chairman of the British Lung Foundation explaining the condition and its treatment.



Clinical Knowledge Summary Covers the management of people with persistent symptoms of chronic obstructive airways disease (COPD). Also covered management of exacerbations and end stage COPD.
GOLD Guidelines: Global imitative for chronic obstructive lung disease (GOLD)sets out  to improve prevention and treatment of this lung disease.
The The Primary Care Respiratory Society UK is an independent charity representing primary care health professionals interested in delivering the best standards of respiratory care.
Influenza Immunisation – Uptake in groups offered free immunisation from Public Health Wales 


Health Maps Wales provides data on hospital admissions, length of stay and mortality due to respiratory disease.