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Final Report of the Irish COPD Collaborative launched

Improving the quality of care for patients living with COPD

The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Improvement Collaborative has published its final report.

In 2018/2019 18 consultant-led multidisciplinary respiratory teams from 19 Irish hospitals participated in the first cycle of this collaborative learning programme, which aimed to improve the quality of care for patients presenting to hospital services with Acute Exacerbation of COPD. 

The collaborative was launched in September 2018, under a joint initiative between the Clinical Innovation and Design (formerly Clinical Strategy and Programmes), National Respiratory Programme (formerly National Clinical Programme for COPD) and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI).

All teams made overall COPD pathway improvements for patients at admission, assessment and discharge through the redesign of current processes or implementation of new processes. These improvements were supported by the collaborative through teaching and coaching teams to develop QI skills and apply new approaches to service improvement. 

For the duration of the programme, participating teams submitted monthly datasets based on twenty evaluation criteria that were agreed with the National Clinical Programme for COPD. By the end of the programme, the following results had been achieved:

  • Reduction in Length of Stay (6.75 days to 5.0 days)
  • Increase in patient prescription review completed before discharge (25 % to 75 %)
  • More patients supported by predischarge inhaler technique training (55 % to 89.5 %)
  • Reduced patient time to wait to see a respiratory specialist (median 25 hours to 13 hours)

Ireland has the highest rate of admission for COPD in the OECD, with marked variation in hospital performance contributing to COPD being the fourth leading cause of death nationally.

This QI Collaborative was the first initiative of its kind in Ireland to focus on improvements in care for a chronic condition.

Final Report of the Irish COPD Collaborative

This final report details the progress and achievements of the Collaborative. Published in November 2019

The respiratory programme has been very aware of what the burden of COPD admissions means to patients, their relatives and indeed the healthcare system. COPD admissions continue to be leading medical cause of acute admission to our hospitals. Delivered in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, this COPD collaborative has been a great success in generating considerable engagement in the hospitals that have been involved in the collaborative. The clinical programme is enthusiastically supportive of a further collaborative and hopes that it will be associated with even more success to reduce the burden of COPD admissions.

Prof. Timothy McDonnell M.D. FRCPI

Consultant Respiratory Physician St. Vincent’s University Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital, National Clinical Lead Respiratory Programme, HSE


The patient voice has been a fundamental driver for change and core component of the Collaborative.   In partnership with Board Members of COPD Support Ireland, patients and carers were actively involved with the COPD Collaborative Working Group and participated fully as co-faculty at the Collaborative Learning Sessions presenting patient experience stories and engaging with teams during interactive sessions.  Collaborative teams were encouraged and empowered to partner with patient(s) and carer(s) in their improvement efforts.

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