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Summary of findings: 

Baseline Awareness

  • Baseline awareness of COPD appears relatively high in Wakefield.
  • Awareness of COPD is highest in Wakefield North, Normanton and Sharlston and Pontefract South. Results clearly demonstrate the need for more activities that raise awareness of COPD in targeted areas such as Castleford, Whitwood and Castleford Ferry Fryston where awareness is lowest.
  • Recommendation 1: Target areas of relatively low awareness and understanding and low incomes.
  • Recommendation 2: Consider information campaigns to specifically appeal to 18-34 year olds e.g. ‘viral marketing’. (This demographic is more likely to smoke).


  • There were mixed levels of understanding about the causes and treatment of COPD with older residents better informed.
  • Just half of the sample thought COPD was caused by smoking. Half the sample incorrectly believed that COPD could be ‘cured.’
  • The majority of residents recognised the benefits of early diagnosis and most knew that smoking cessation and regular exercise were also beneficial.
  • Recommendation 3:
  1. More awareness raising of occupational and lifestyle contributors to COPD
  2. More awareness raising of link between smoking and COPD
  3. More awareness raising of the need for early detection and the progressive nature of the disease
  4. More information on how symptoms can be managed and improved, particularly amongst smokers.


  • Overall there is a greater propensity for women and older people to seek advice about smoking related symptoms. However, in general there appears to have been an increase in the willingness of people to have these symptoms investigated by a health professional. This suggests more of an opportunity to engage the public in screening through community venues.
  • In addition, almost a third of respondents stated ‘they would not seek advice’ for symptoms because of issues around GP availability; fear of time wasting; a fatalistic attitude and preference for visiting a pharmacy. Community testing may have greater appeal for this group. However, only a quarter of residents are aware of specific COPD testing at present.
  • Recommendation 4:
  1. Raise the profile of COPD through leafleting households.
  2. Explore the potential for more COPD testing for example in stop smoking services as a permanent measure and other community venues as appropriate on a rolling basis.
  3. Reinforce the importance of early detection amongst those most at risk.
Research objectives: 

The overall aim of this project was to:

Obtain robust data related specifically to Wakefield regarding the public’s awareness and understanding of COPD

Within this aim lie several objectives;

  • To understand the baseline awareness of COPD within the catchment area
  • To find out what people understand about the condition
  • To find out what communications/activity people would best respond to
  • To find out what questions / misconceptions need to be answered through future communications

NHS Wakefield District commissioned a survey amongst residents living in Wakefield to establish awareness of COPD and symptoms relating to this condition.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The main symptom of COPD is airflow obstruction. Airflow obstruction is caused by long-term damage to the lungs, usually as a result of smoking.

This work builds upon national studies conducted by MORI for the BTS COPD Consortium in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

Quick summary: 

Research to assess public awareness and understanding of COPD, and to gauge what communications / activity this population most need and would best respond to.

Audience Summary


Not specified



Social Class: 

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A quantitative survey of residents across Wakefield using both telephone interviewing (using CATI: Computer aided telephone interviewing) and face to face interviewing. The latter was used to ensure a representative sample, including those harder to reach.

  • 419x surveys were conducted using CATI.
  • 218x surveys were conducted face to face.
  • The survey was designed to be representative by ward and gender. The sample of older respondents was boosted slightly, and quota was set on smoking status. (33% were smokers, 20% were ex-smokers).
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Fieldwork dates: 

Not specified

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Research agency: 
QA Research