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Key points e Pulmonary rehabilitation is a successful healthcare intervention in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease e It combines exercise and education for patients and their families or carers e Practice nurses can take a key role in the development and management of this service e All staff involved need to have expertise in respiratory care e The National Respiratory Training Centre (NRTC) provides Open University validated distance-learning modules in many aspects of respiratory care relevant to pulmonary rehabilitation e Almost 50% of the UK's practice nurses have been trained by the NRTC
The introduction of the new GMS contract1 in April this year has been the driving force behind the recognition of the need to develop services for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The importance of the disease burden of COPD to both the NHS and the individual patient has now been recognised, and COPD has rightly been pushed to the top of the agenda for both managers and clinicians. The climate is right for the implementation of significant changes to clinical practice and service delivery. The introduction of Agenda for Change2 (AfC) later this year will provide countless opportunities for personal career development and for developing your role and extending your scope of practice. Pulmonary rehabilitation is recognised as being the only effective intervention in improving the quality of life of people with COPD.3 The evidence base to support the use of pulmonary rehabilitation has grown rapidly over the years and the importance and value of this service is now being recognised. Practice nurses are ideally placed to capitalise on the interest generated and to become key players in the development of this service.
The scale of COPD …