Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It is characterised by airflow obstruction that is not fully reversible.
In Barnet CCG, London, an estimated 16.6% of adults smoke, and smoking rates are high among people living in the most deprived wards who do not normally attend a GP surgery. About 2600 people die in Barnet each year; 440 from a smoking-related disease.1
There is an estimated COPD prevalence of 1.1% (4109 patients) versus the national prevalence of 1.8% (which would equate to 6724 patients), which suggests that approximately 2615 people are potentially undiagnosed in Barnet.2
The author runs respiratory clinics in general practices and a community pharmacy in the borough.