Programme highlights for primary care practitioners

Primary care is central to any healthcare system

Primary care practitioners play a key role in the delivery of respiratory care, with respiratory symptoms being the most common reason for primary care consultations.

The majority of respiratory diagnoses are carried out by primary care practitioners and the management of people with respiratory conditions–especially asthma, COPD and acute infections–is predominantly the responsibility of primary care. This responsibility extends from prevention to both long-term and acute management, as well as supportive care of very severe disease.

This year’s ERS Congress features dedicated primary care sessions, as well as a number of sessions focusing on topics of relevance to the primary care community.

What is on offer for primary care practitioners at Congress? Hear from the experts:


Q: What makes the ERS Congress unique for primary care practitioners?

A: Respiratory are the commonest presenting symptoms in primary care, and respiratory non-communicable conditions are a major source of disability for our patients. The ERS offers a blend of specialist and generalist expertise, reminding us that we are working together to address the burden of respiratory disease.

Q: What can primary care practitioners expect to gain from taking part in this year’s Congress?

A: Updated knowledge, state of the art guidance, novel approaches to care are to be had in abundance, but underpinning all this is the opportunity to meet (face-to-face!) and share experiences with colleagues from many countries working in diverse settings and across health service sectors.  For me the biggest gains are the shared enthusiasm for improving respiratory care.

Q: In your opinion, what will be the popular topics in the primary care field during this year’s Congress, and what will be a particular highlight for you?

A: There are many interesting and relevant symposia, debates, guideline and skills sessions but I always find the abstract sessions are a particular highlight for me.   Applied and implementation research offers so many insights into how we can deliver good care for our patients.  The primary care oral abstracts on the Tuesday afternoon include presentations on breathlessness diagnostic pathways, delivery of pulmonary rehabilitation in rural India, follow up after COPD exacerbations, community management post-COVID, frailty in older people with impaired lung function, and implementing supported self-management for asthma.  Varied specialist topics, but all in a day’s work for the generalist!

Q: Can you select some sessions that you recommend to primary care practitioners?

A: There is so much to choose from!  The primary care sessions are arranged by primary care practitioners with the interests of the general clinician in mind.  This year they address two really important topics.  Firstly the diagnosis of asthma not only from the clinical perspective with updates on how we can make a secure diagnosis but also reminding ourselves that diagnosis is a core component of the journey for the patient.  The second session also takes a patient-centred perspective and looks at some of the ‘forgotten’ challenges of living with COPD – as well as an updated look at how the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation can be realised despite pandemics and in low resource settings. Two very practical sessions that will be of interest to all clinical practitioners!

Finally, make sure you look out for sessions and talks reflecting digital innovation that is so rapidly changing the world in which we live and work.

Learn more about the ERS Respiratory clinical care and physiology

View all ERS Congress programme highlights