The AHSN NENC  Respiratory Programme aims to improve health outcomes for those living with Respiratory conditions.


  • The NHS Long Term Plan identifies respiratory disease as a clinical priority; it affects one in five people and is the third biggest cause of death in the England (after cancer and cardiovascular disease)
  • Hospital admissions for lung disease have risen over the past seven years at three times the rate of all admissions generally
  • Respiratory diseases are a major factor in winter pressures faced by the NHS; most respiratory admissions are non-elective and during the winter period these double in number
  • The annual economic burden of asthma and COPD on the NHS in the UK is estimated as £3 billion and £1.9 billion respectively. In total, lung conditions directly cost the NHS in the UK £11billion annually.

The AHSN NENC has invested in Respiratory projects since 2013, a significant body of work has been developed, a selection of which can be found below in the Previous Projects section below.

Current Projects

Our respiratory programme has been set up to support various initiatives related to the management of asthma and COPD including:

Beat Asthma+

Please visit our dedicated page for information on this programme of work

Asthma and COPD Discharge Bundle

This project supports the spread and adoption of the British Thoracic Society Asthma and COPD discharge bundles in acute trusts. The aim is to reduce unwarranted variation in the management of Asthma and COPD, and improve accessibility and uptake of respiratory services.

Previous Projects

Asthma Clinical Handover Project

In May 2104 The Royal College of Physicians produced a report entitled ‘Why asthma still kills ‘The National Review of Asthma Deaths’, highlighting that the majority of the deaths could probably have been avoided.

In response to this report a pilot scheme has been developed to support GPs in managing selected patients, through referral to their nominated community pharmacy to have an extended asthma specific Medication Use Review (MUR). The results of this project were written into a report.

View this report

Optimising the management of COPD exacerbations in primary care

North West, North Tyneside Primary Care Network and NHS Business Services Authority. Paul Davies

Commencing 1st October 2019 – 31st March 2020

Despite the availability of local and national guidance regarding the management of COPD exacerbations in primary care, prescribing patterns vary between practices.

Practices with high prescribing rates of rescue medication for COPD will be identified via the NHS BSA respiratory dashboard; they will then be offered individualised support using Quality Improvement methodology.

View final report


For more information about the AHSN NENC Respiratory Programme contact Sue Hart

The AHSN NENC in collaboration with the British Lung Foundation and Newcastle Healthy Lungs has created the video “Changing Lives – Breathing Better” to promote the value of Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR).


Case Study – Can respiratory specialist nurse support improve COPD management in primary care_

Please find below a selection of reports and case studies:

Management of COPD in Primary Care in Newcastle

AHSN Regional Respiratory Report

Citywide Report Newcastle CCG

name An Evaluation of the delivery of Shared Medical Appointments

The videos aim to provide an insight directly from a patient’s perspective into the benefits of PR and can be used as an educational tool for both patients and clinicians.





Throughout the NENC area provision of ‘stop smoking services’ is varied. There is some fantastic work and projects being developed and implemented that will make a real difference in supporting patients to stop smoking and this will significantly improve the overall health of these individuals and reduce resource use within the NHS.

There are also considerable challenges faced by local authorities with ever decreasing Public Health budgets. ‘Stop Smoking Services’ are unfortunately not mandatory and nationally some authorities are even considering not providing a service at all.

Individual service providers will face similar financial pressures and implementation challenges and will meet these challenges in different ways.

The AHSN NENC, in collaboration with Fresh NE are looking at ways support service providers across the area, sharing best practice to help overcome the challenges.

Stop Before the Op Case Study

Collaboration to reduce smoking in targeted groups



We have funded several projects in spirometry, a selection is show below:

A Qualitative Audit of Spirometry Services In Gateshead CCG

Spirometry Case Study