A survey of 500 people across Britain diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has revealed that almost a third (31 percent) feel their treatment is not adequately controlling their condition.

Results of the survey, carried out by Opinion Health on behalf of Chiesi, also show that 60 percent of patients feel there is not enough support available to help them manage their condition properly.

According to the data, flare-ups are causing 21 percent of COPD patients to visit A&E up to twice a year, while 4 percent have visited three or more times in a year. Also, 18 percent of those questioned said they have had to stay in hospital overnight once or twice in the last year because of a flare-up.

As well as highlighting the impact on patients the findings are particularly pertinent given that a single visit to A&E can cost £124 just to be seen, while an NHS hospital stay is estimated to be £400 a day.

Dr Richard Russell, consultant respiratory physician at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and clinical director of the West Hampshire Integrated Respiratory Service, said the survey reveals “there is much more to be done to improve the care” of COPD patients.

“We are often treating patients with three or more inhalers and yet the results of this survey show that 17 percent of patients have not had their inhaler technique checked by their doctor. Patients are still suffering from poorly controlled disease, especially from acute lung attacks or exacerbations, which is impacting on all aspects of their lives and leading to significant mortality, morbidity and cost to society,” he stressed.

COPD affects at least 1.2 million people in the UK, usually over the age of 40, but experts believe there are also more than two million undiagnosed cases.

The condition kills over 30,000 people each year and is estimated to cost the NHS more than £800 million annually and the overall economy some £3.8 billion in lost productivity, underscoring the need to address the current gaps in care.