To better understand how the pandemic has affected patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), with or without Covid-19, admitted to hospital and using hospital services.


COPD is a common chronic lung disease affecting mainly middle-aged and older patients. COPD patients can be vulnerable to viral infections, leading to flare-up of symptoms such as cough and breathlessness, and viral lung infections are the most common cause of hospital admission in this patient group.

In March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic and since then millions of people have been affected worldwide.

There has been significant concern in the COPD patient and healthcare community that Covid-19 would have devastating effects for COPD patients.

Many COPD patients report ‘shielding’ throughout the pandemic and there is anecdotal evidence that people missed hospital appointments and avoided coming to hospital, even when they were very unwell. However, there is little information to assess the impact of Covid-19 on COPD hospital admissions and hospital care.


This project will look at routinely collected health data before and during the Covid-19 pandemic to determine:

These analyses will begin to understand the impact of Covid-19 on this long-term condition, and inform whether COPD care pathways need to change whilst the pandemic continues.

Patient involvement

The researchers have worked with Breathe Easy patient support groups in Solihull and Coventry to identify issues important to patients. They will continue to discuss the results, co-creating a series of information sheets for patients to disseminate the findings.


This project was supported unanimously by the PIONEER Data Trust Committee.

Principal investigator

Dr Kay Por Yip, Birmingham Health Partners (University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Birmingham)

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