What role do GPs play in treating COPD?

General practitioners (GPs) are often the first point of contact for people who develop COPD

According to the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) survey, in the ten year period 2006–07 to 2015–16 the estimated rate of COPD management in general practice was around 0.9 per 100 encounters (Figure 1). The BEACH survey gathered information from a random sample of GPs in Australia. An encounter relates to a consultation between a patient and a GP.

Statistics on general practice activities based on BEACH data are derived from a sample survey of GPs and their encounters with patients and should be interpreted with caution.

Figure 1: General practice encounters for COPD, all ages, 2006–07 to 2015–16

The vertical bar chart shows the prevalence of self-reported COPD increased with increasing age, and was highest among those aged 75 and over (9%25), compared to those aged 65–74 (7%25) and 55–64 (5%25). The overall prevalence of COPD among people ages 45 and over was 5%25.


  1. The Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) year is April to March.

  2. COPD classified according to International Classification of Primary Care, 2nd edition (ICPC-2) codes R79001, R79003 and R95.

Source: [1] (Data table).


  1. Britt H, Miller GC, Bayram C, Henderson J, Valenti L, Harrison C et al. 2016. A decade of Australian general practice activity 2006-07 to 2015-16. General practice series no. 41. Sydney: Sydney University Press.