Research type: 
Desk research
Year of report: 
Summary of findings: 


  • COPD is one of the largest causes of premature death in Doncaster, accounting for 9% of deaths per year. Prevalence is estimated at 2.3%, although the actual figure is likely to be higher as many cases are undiagnosed.
  • Analysis of national data sets and Mosaic™ data identified four lifestyle types that account for at least 10% of the population of Doncaster and who have a greater likelihood of hospital admission from COPD than the national average:
  1. G42: Families with school age children, living in very large social housing estates on the outskirts of provincial cities  
  2. G43: Older people, many in poor health from work in heavy industry, in low rise social housing  
  3. H44: Manual workers, many close to retirement, in low rise houses in ex-manufacturing towns  
  4. H45: Older couples, mostly in small towns, who now own houses once rented from the council  

Qualitative research

  • Awareness of COPD was low and more likely to be associated with asthma than smoking. However, respondents were aware of bronchitis and emphysema.
  • There was very low awareness of the information available about COPD.
  • Smokers are often very reluctant to visit their GP, even when ill, and so messages should empower them to get treatment when they need it.
  • Respondents would welcome an invitation from their GP to attend a health check which should include  test for COPD.
  • Posters placed in health and non-health settings are the best way of getting the attention of the target audience.
  • Using frightening or negative images in marketing materials is likely to make people look away. Images that show how it feels to have COPD are easier to relate to. 


Target groups

  • The target audience should be smokers aged over 35, in particular those from Mosaic™ lifestyle groups G42, G43, H44 and H45.


  • The strategy should combine service development and improvement with marketing and communications activity.

Service development and improvement

  • GPs in areas with high COPD admissions/smoking prevalence that are not already participating in the Local Enhanced Service should be targeted to join.
  • Training in the diagnosis and management of COPD should be widely available for appropriate health professionals across the PCT.
  • The policies and practices of those GPs that have been identified as having higher numbers of COPD admissions than expected should be reviewed. 
  • Smokers should be invited to have a health MOT, to include tests for COPD, either at their GP practice, workplace or at an appropriate location via a mobile unit.

Marketing and communications


  • To increase the awareness of the symptoms of COPD amongst smokers and to encourage early diagnosis of the condition.
  • To help educate patients to manage the condition themselves with the support of the community based service.


  • A general stop smoking message with information about local stop smoking services.
  • Information about the symptoms of COPD, the links to smoking and advice on seeking medical help.
  • Information on self-management for those with a diagnosis.

Methods of communication

  • Posters in health and non-health settings
  • A smoking cessation leaflet with a focus on COPD, developed in conjunction with the stop smoking service
  • Telemarketing
  • PR activity in the local press
Research objectives: 

The objective of the quantitative analysis was to identify and profile key target audiences in Doncaster who are most risk of COPD.

The objectives of the qualitative research were to:

  • Better understand (amongst those who are most at risk of developing COPD)  attitudes towards health, early diagnosis of COPD and barriers to quit smoking
  • Understand smokers’ awareness and attitudes towards COPD and barriers to seeking medical help
  • Explore people’s awareness and knowledge of information and education about COPD and the perceived gaps in this information
  • Pre-test material for a social marketing campaign to raise awareness of COPD

Doncaster PCT commissioned research to gain insights into six public health issues and to develop social marketing strategies aimed at achieving long term solutions. This research focuses on the issue of reducing hospital admissions for COPD.

Quick summary: 

Research to identify the audience in Doncaster most at risk of developing COPD, exploration of awareness and understanding of COPD amongst smokers and barriers to their seeking help, and development of a social marketing strategy aimed at reducing hospital admissions.

Audience Summary


Not specified


45-70 years of age.

Social Class: 

SOG D or E


  • Analysis of several national data sets to identify and profile the key target audiences in Doncaster who are at most risk of developing COPD. Data sets included health needs mapping, lifestyle data from Mosaic™ and Hospital Episode Statistics.
  • Qualitative research with smokers from the key target populations identified by analytics. Participants took part in focus groups and one in-depth telephone interview.
Data collection methodology: 
Focus groups
Systematic review
Sample size: 

The qualitative research comprised 2 focus groups:

  • One group (3 participants) of male smokers
  • One group (8 participants) of female smokers
  • One telephone interview with a person diagnosed with COPD
Detailed region: 


Fieldwork dates: 

Not specified

Agree to publish: 


Research agency: 
Dr Foster Intelligence