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Primary care is central to any healthcare system and 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.
Hilary Pinnock is Head of the ERS Respiratory Clinical Care and Physiology Assembly. She is Professor of Primary Care Respiratory Medicine at The University of Edinburgh and leads programmes of work in the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research and in the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE). A practising primary care doctor, her research interests focus on the delivery of respiratory care within the real-life primary care setting.
Q: What makes the ERS Congress unique for primary care practitioners?
A: The ERS Congress welcomes primary care with specific sessions led by the Primary Care group – this year focusing on delivering care for people with asthma and COPD in a post-COVID era. Conferences are about networking and sharing innovative ideas, so it is good that primary care is able to contribute their focus on the individual, often with multimorbidity, and always living within a family and society.
Q: What can primary care expect to gain from taking part in this year’s Congress?
A: Obvious gains are improving knowledge, updating skills, and challenging our established ways of working. The abstracts from primary care are always interesting with their eclectic mix of trials, routine data studies, qualitative research and quality improvement initiatives delivering practical messages that can make a difference to clinical practice.
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: We share a common enemy in COVID-19, and there are many sessions in the Congress exploring the pandemic and its impact on our lives and practice. Within the Congress theme of digital health, the highlight for me will be the many sessions about how we can harness the power of technology to deliver care effectively, safely and efficiently for the growing number of people with (often multiple) non-communicable diseases.