National COPD Audit Programme

The national Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) audit programme for England and Wales comprises a number of ambitious audit workstreams, combined with an extensive partnership approach and comprehensive multidisciplinary, collaborative working.

What we are doing

The core aim of the programme is to drive improvements in the quality of care and services provided for COPD patients. Through collecting and linking patient journey data it will enable the comparison of performance and practice, highlight variations in patient care and outcomes, and seek to innovatively drive up standards of patient care.

The audit programme comprises five key workstreams:

  1. Primary care audit – collection of audit data from GP patient record systems.
  2. Secondary care continuous audit – continuous audit of admissions to hospital with COPD exacerbation (to begin in February 2017).
  3. Pulmonary rehabilitation snapshot audits – snapshot audits of service delivery and quality (to take place in 2017).
  4. Organisational snapshot audits - snapshot audits of the resources and organisation of COPD services in secondary care and pulmonary rehabilitation (to take place in 2017).
  5. Pilot data linkage – a pilot piece of work looking at linking the data across the patient journey.

The National COPD Audit Programme supports the Department of Health’s aims to improve the quality of services for people with COPD, measuring and reporting the delivery of care as defined by guidance standards. The programme has quality improvement integrated into all its workstreams, and hosted an event in July 2016 on moving to continuous data collection and sharing quality improvement initiatives.

What we have done

The National COPD Audit Programme was commissioned in 2013, and has also worked on the following outputs:

  • Secondary care snapshot audit – snapshot audit of admissions to hospital with COPD exacerbation (2014).
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation snapshot audit – snapshot audits of service delivery and quality (2015).
  • PREM – 1-year development work exploring the potential/feasibility for Patient Reported Experience Measures to be incorporated into the programme in the future.

Who's involved


The programme has been commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) and currently covers England and Wales only. We are very much aware that colleagues in Scotland and Northern Ireland may wish to audit their practice, and while this presents challenges in relation to resourcing and Information Governance rules that differ from country to country, the national COPD audit team are looking at ways in which this could be achieved in the future.

The audit programme is led by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), working in partnership with a number of organisations including the British Thoracic Society, British Lung Foundation, Primary Care Respiratory Society UK and Royal College of General Practitioners.

The partnership is supported by a Programme Steering Group. Representation on the group includes: