Primary care at the ERS Congress

Primary care is at the cornerstone of any health system – and primary care practitioners play a key role in the delivery of respiratory care. Respiratory symptoms are the most common reason for primary care consultations, and most respiratory diagnoses and the management of people with respiratory conditions (especially asthma, COPD and acute infections) is predominantly the responsibility of primary care.

Primary care practitioners support people with chronic lung disease to self-manage their condition, take a holistic approach to the management of people with multimorbidity, and provides continuity of care throughout the lifetime of long-term conditions. This broad remit extends from prevention (e.g. treating tobacco dependence and reducing secondhand smoke exposure), through both long-term and acute management, to supportive care of very severe disease.

Despite diversity in health systems between European countries, there is international recognition of the role of primary care in managing the growing burden of chronic lung disease and improving patient and public health outcomes. Preventive, educational and management strategies relevant to primary care must be prioritised in respiratory patient care. As in previous years, we have a dedicated Primary Care Day programme at this year's Congress in addition to a number of sessions focusing on topics of relevance to the primary care community.

Professor Hilary Pinnock, General Pneumology Assembly Head highlights the importance of primary care respiratory medicine: "Primary Care is the first point of call for people with respiratory symptoms and in common conditions such as asthma, COPD, respiratory infections and tobacco dependence, family doctors and primary care colleagues have pivotal roles.

"The ERS Congress, and especially the Primary Care Day programme, provides an update on key topics and the latest developments including: organising healthcare to cope with the increasing burden of multi-morbidity; working in partnership with patients; diagnosing and managing breathlessness; improving air quality; as well as practical aspects of inhaler technique."