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Health: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 9 March 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been the cost of producing and distributing the Met Office and NHS pack “Health Outlook—COPD Forecast Alert Service”; what are the anticipated responses to it; and what are the anticipated benefits from it. [HL2376]

The “Healthy Outlook—COPD Forecast Alert Service” pack forms part of the Met Office Healthy Outlook service, which is designed to help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to take control of their own health and keep well in the winter months. In 2009-10 the cost of this service to participating NHS primary care trusts and GP practices has been approximately £27 per patient, which includes the pack, training for health professionals and a telephone alert call when weather and virus conditions combine to put the health of people with COPD at risk.

There are currently 22,000 patients registered to receive telephone alerts through the Healthy Outlook service out of a total of 1 million people on the UK COPD register. In a recent independent survey of over 3,000 users of the service, 79 per cent of respondents confirmed that they had received an information pack and 99 per cent said that they had found it easy to understand. This survey also showed that 85 per cent of patients using the service understood their condition better, 54 per cent were seeking a repeat prescription, 42 per cent were reporting their symptoms earlier and 43 per cent were taking more exercise. Other research has shown a UK average 20 per cent reduction in hospital admissions for COPD and a reduction in excess winter deaths in the West Midlands.