Project launched in Bridgwater to improve health of people with chronic respiratory disease

Our new community project asks people in Bridgwater to get involved to improve the health and wellbeing of those living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Evolving Communities and Healthwatch Somerset have launched a new community engagement project to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in Bridgwater, and we are looking for local people to get involved.

Respiratory diseases cause more deaths in Somerset than any other type of condition apart from cancers and circulatory diseases. Bridgwater has a relatively high level of COPD, with 2.3% prevalence in the population and 3.3% in more deprived areas. However, less than 50% of people in these areas have had an annual review with their GP, meaning many are not receiving support or have not been diagnosed with COPD.

Through the project, we aim to reach and represent people in Bridgwater who are living with diagnosed chronic respiratory disease as well as those with undiagnosed breathing difficulties. We want to build and share understanding of their health and care needs and find out how to improve community support to help them access health and care services and inspire them to take positive action to live well.

To do this, we want to work with people in Bridgwater who have COPD, as well as their families, friends, carers and supporters, and we are now recruiting a team of local volunteer Community Connectors to help with the project.

If you live in Bridgwater and you or someone you know has COPD, or you have a good understanding of respiratory disease and health inequalities, your support will make a huge difference.

The project is being delivered independently on behalf of Somerset’s Integrated Care System which includes Somerset County Council and NHS Somerset.

Emma Savage, Deputy Director of Quality and Improvement, NHS Somerset Integrated Care Board, said: “This is an exciting project and innovative way to reach out to people living with COPD in Bridgwater using a community, strengths-based approach to help improve their health and wellbeing. We intend to evaluate this project and apply any learning to working with others in Somerset living with a long-term condition.”