The UK NSC recommendation on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed August 2018
Next review due in 2021/22
Key downloads

Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

Screening for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is not recommended. This is because:

  • there is not an accurate test to detect early COPD
  • the best treatment for early COPD is to stop smoking, people with few or no symptoms may not be willing to do this
  • it is not known if medicines for COPD are effective in people with mild symptoms

There is evidence that identifying COPD in people with symptoms is cost effective. There are national guidelines for doctors to follow for these patients.

More about COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung diseases. People with COPD struggle to breathe as their airways have narrowed. Symptoms include having a persistent cough and chest infections.

» Read more about the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on NHS UK


Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS)
British Geriatrics Society
British Lung Foundation
British Society of Lifestyle Medicine
British Thoracic Society
Faculty of Public Health
Primary Care Respiratory Society UK
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Evidence summary- COPD (2013) (PDF document, 511KB, 09/12/19)

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