More than 100 experts in primary care respiratory healthcare met in London this week to discuss driving forward the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, laying the groundwork for series of meetings funded by GlaxoSmithKline.

The UK drug giant has teamed up with PCRS-UK (Primary Care Respiratory Society-UK) to provide an educational programme that aims to “bring to life” the recently updated NICE guideline on COPD and the new National Strategy for COPD, through a package of meetings offering healthcare professionals training and practical tools to accelerate improvements to patient care.

The first meeting under the Paper to Patient programme, called Leading change in COPD care, offered experts a platform to discuss the immediate steps needed to boost the care of patients with the disease, which is thought to affect up to three million people in the UK alone, and ensure that best practice is being offered throughout the country.

“When published, the National Strategy for COPD will provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the current gaps in COPD service delivery and standards in patient care,” said Iain Small, executive chair of PCRS-UK, adding that “engaging primary care health professionals in the implementation of the National Strategy will be critical to its success, and we welcome this exciting opportunity to help improve the lives of patients with chronic respiratory disease”.

The free-of-charge educational workshops are scheduled to run between September and December and are open to all healthcare professionals who want to learn more about the new COPD guidelines and translate them into practice.

This is not the only COPD-related project that GSK is involved in. The company has also linked up with the StHealth PBC consortium, part of the St Helens Primary Care Trust, to work on the earlier identification of patients with the disease and improving care pathways. Results so far show a reduction in hospital admission rates and reduced variability in patients receiving NICE recommended treatment.