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A quarter of GPNs will not obtain certification for spirometry

Almost 25% of practice nurses in England have said they will not be getting certified to perform spirometry, despite new guidance stating that healthcare professionals who use spirometry for diagnosis should be certified.

In the State of Primary Care survey of more than 2,000 healthcare professionals, only 11% of practice nurses claimed that they already obtained the certificate, with a further 30% saying they hadn’t yet, but that they would before 2021.

An announcement from NHS England in 2016 revealed that a national registration for spirometry would be put in place for 2021, requiring all practitioners who perform spirometry to be certified and placed on the register.

The British Medical Association said that training requirements such as certification would be down to local commissioners to decide, as spirometry services are not part of the GP contract.

But NHS England plans to implement the policy in two years’ time, following the inclusion of spirometry in NICE asthma guidelines as a part of a ‘battery’ of tests to objectively diagnose the condition.

NICE guidelines on COPD also advised hospitals to send patients back to primary care for spirometry if incidental findings of the disease were found on chest X-rays otherwise performed for another reason.