Have bronchiectasis GP writes COPD on sick note!

Can I have some advice please . I recently returned to work after being unemployed for at least a year. Unfortunately 6 weeks down the line I have developed a chest infection. My GP has written on my sick note that I have COPD. I did not declare COPD because I don't have it ( or do I )?

No amount of talking made any difference. I simply asked him to change the statement to chest infection and he replied COPD is a chest infection. If you don't like what I'm saying then see a different Dr.

Please help.


51 Replies

  • They put lots of lung conditions under the COPD 'Umbrella'( including Brochiectasis) is your Company not accepting the certificate?

    They should

  • a chest infection is not copd.......although copd covers a lot of different conditions its not a chest infection and if thats what he thinks you have he should have asked you to have a lung function test at the gp surgery ....

    copd can cause bronchiectasis like mine did so i would take his advice and see another doctor because he is obviously really a bloody brick layer x

    if you have copd you may need to be put on specific medication i would find out hun x

  • You cannot do any lung function tests during an infection and it should not normally take place until 6 or 8 weeks after the infection has cleared up.

  • yeah that is the rule but in my case i was never got well long enough to have another one....i spent 30 weeks last year on antibiotics and in all that time my gp only once asked me for a sputum sample...god knows how many different tablets they had me on and when i was finally rushed into hospital the first thing the consultant said was lets see if we can reverse some of the damage that had been caused

  • Forget your GP, forget your surgeries COPD? Asthma nurse. The only professionals that are up to date and give you the help when you need it, is your local Respiratory team. You may have to hunt around for a phone number and it may seem a distance away but reassured they will make home visits and have regional clinics. They will tell your GP what medication he needs to put you on, monitor you and update you. You do not need a GP referral.....just find the phone number, give them a ring and introduce yourself.

  • im way passed that hun im looking at a double lung transplant next year but i do agree with what you say

    thanks x

  • In that case it's time you contacted them...they are the true lung specialists.

  • ive already seen them thats why im looking at having the transplant

  • Sorry, you didn't mention that. They will tell you when you can have a lung function test or any other.

  • oh sorry hun im half asleep and didnt read your post correct......

    as you are under a consultant then you obviously have been diagnosed....copd is not bronchiectasis they are different things i have them both but the constant chest infections caused by the copd caused the bronchiectasis....

  • Thanks for your comments Mandy. They are appreciated.



  • Hi, does ur work know u have bronchiectatis as that comes under COPD. Just being nosey wot is ur job, could it be making ur condition worse. X Sonia x

  • Hi Sonia.. No I did not tell my employer as I would of probably not passed the health questionnaire. I'm not infectious so I'm not a risk to anyone and I wanted to / needed to go back to work. It's as simple as that really. My consultant was happy and gave me lots of good advice. I don't think that my GP is in the slightest bit interested in me other than a number that he gets paid to see.

    Best wishes to you.


  • Ur right some doctors have no bedside manner at all, u could always tell work it's just been diagnosed, then they will understand when ur not well they can't sack u for being ill unless it compromises ur health but least they could offer u lighter duties on bad days, my works were great but in the end I kept letting them down with illness so I resigned but I have different ailments. U know what ur capable of and see another doctor, and explain Wots happened with the other doc. Hope all goes ok for u. X Sonia x

  • Thank you Sonia

  • If your Doctor does know the difference between chest infections, COPD, and Bronchiectasis all of which are different things then I suggest you find a doctor who does. Just think of the level of wrong treatment your are going to be open to in the future if the disease gets worse. Leave and when you have a new doctor file a complaint against the bricklayer. Disgusting treatment. Regards Rib

  • Thank you for your comment and you are right, it is disgusting treatment. Best wishes. Holly

  • copd is narrowing of the airway....bronchiectasis is widening of the airway....a chest infection is a bloody chest infection ...

    it worries me if any of these doctors know what they are doing

  • So admire your forthrightness Mandy! I could do with someone like you to fight my surgery with me! My tactics don't work at all! Juney

  • one of the worse things about being ill is having to argue with these so called professionals and its all i seem to do from arguing with the receptionist for an emergency appointment to having a nurse wack my oxygen up to 6 litres to give me a blast as she put it.........dont be afraid to speak your mind

  • I have both COPD (Asthma) and Bronchiectasis, both of which have been confirmed by the respiratory clinic at the hospital. I have also been told I have a low antibody count, which requires further investigation.

  • oh...i had an assessment at harefeild and im waiting for the results of my antibodies as it may impact things but im not sure in what way as i had stopped listening to what she was saying after she told me i would be offered a double lung transplant

  • Ur both right , I have copd at the top, emphasema at the bottom and Alpha 1 Z phenotype that causes it all ( as well as smoking , fumes chemicals , dust , pollen , etc ) as well as liver problems , but my doc only ever put copd on my sick notes.( not any more ) Makes u wary on who u see doesn't it. My husband once saw a foreign doctor for piles and the doctor asked him " what are piles" I just sat there gobsmacked, we demanded to see another doc, he's since left thank god. X Sonia x

  • Hi Holy, my dr writes "medical condition" and unfit to attend work because of it. It is up to you to disclose the nature of your medical conditions to your employer if you chose to. I would go back and ask him to not disclose your medical background unless there is a need (which a rare short term sickness like your chest infection should not be). Cheersxxx

  • Than you for this comment. I did go back to the surgery and ask for a new certificate with chest infection written on it. I was very polite but no my request was refused In fact I was asked if I was medical and if I didn't like it to go elsewhere . Disgraceful treatment.

    Best. Wishes . Holly

  • Hi Holly I am sorry to hear this. It seems like your dr has made up his mind to not budge on this. Very unfortunate. I think you may be wise to look for a new dr (maybe ask family and friends if they have a good sympathatic dr who will listen to them). Don't let this get you down even if you have to take this form to your work, if asked you could say you had bronchitis which has now been treated with antibiotics and you have now recovered from that infection. And leave it simply at that (no explanation on bronc and difference to copd etc). Good luckxxx

  • every surgery has a manager to deal with patient complaints i would be complaining about your doctors attitude he obviously has a god complex

  • Hi if you are in in the UK then bronchiectasis isn't COPD. And a chest infection isn't either. Change your doctor he is a disgrace. x

  • Dear Holly and All.

    I have had this conversation on the a Site before, as in 2012 I had a Collapse in the shopping centre and had to be taken to hospital. Where it was written in my notes that I had COPD, well I do not and my diagnosis after extensive scans was Brochiectasis.

    The Consultant showed me the scan with black holes which was widening caused by previous untreated infections.

    My Husband was furious and asked for the COPD to be removed immeadatley, this was seen as making a fuss, but it was done eventually .

    This is important, as treatment differs for each condition, and also affects any future Insurance you may purchace.

    Just try buying insurance if you have COPD, where as Brochiectasis is treated different unless in latter stage where I presume it then comes under COPD.

    I am going to Chest a Clinic on Monday where it will be one of the questions I will be asking.

    Also a lot of people have Brochiectasis from babyhood I have not heard of a young baby having COPD.

    Hope this helps, they are just my thoughts from my experience, but I agree this condition is a mind field it seems even for the people treating Us.



  • This conversation about Drs putting COPD down for chest infections ect crops up frequently on this site. COPD is bronchitis/ emphysema and is an obstructive airways disease made worse by infections not another name for infection or any other lung disease either. If your doctor does not know this then change doctor as you may be receiving incorrect advice or treatment and the diagnosis is misleading your employer and insurance companys. COPD is a serious long term chronic lung condition that does not get better.

  • katie you are right and I would also like to add that bronchiectasis is a serious long term chronic lung condition that does not get better and with bronchiectasis you will get much less help than those with COPD.

  • Just a thought Zube maybe that's why some doctors say it's COPD so you get more help. But I don't think so judging from most reports many of the chronic lung conditions get little or no recognition of their seriousness or their disabling effects. Diagnosis often gets confused even with super new technology. Have a good day

  • I would like to thank each and every one of you who has left me a very valuable comment. I definitelely have bronchiectasis and thanks to the respiratory team at my local hospital seem to be managing the condition now. I decided to go back to work because financially could no longer survive on the income that was coming in. I did not disclose to my employer that I have bronchiectasis who will now think that I have COPD and may well terminate my employment as the Dr has refused to remove COPD off my sick note. I've had a chest infection for a couple of weeks and used my rescue antibiotics.i started having some side effects from the clarythromycin...swollen tongue, sore throat, thrush... So how this eaquates to COPD , I have no idea.

    I tried to explain politely that COPD and Bronchiectasis are two different conditions but he turned his back on me and as I stated said if you don't like what I've written then see another doctor. How rude.

  • I think you need to report this to :- nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Right...

    We would not let other service providers treat us like this so why let doctors or nurses. They should be just has accountable in fact more so because of the nature of their roles.

    There are bad apples in every barrel.

  • Thank you for this. Much appreciated,


  • I was treated for bronchiectasis most of my younger life off school most terms for a week or so. I was then diagnosed in my 20's with asthma. Not one of my doctors said I had COPD it was not until I had lung failure due to a severe infection and MOF, did it get even mentioned to me! It took a few arguments with my present GP's to get them to agree I had any lung problems. I had a spiro when I found I had worked with asbestos for over 10 years. It was that and the full blow in a box at Hospital confirmed I had RLD!

    Be Well

  • With regards health and employment....disclosure of medical conditions on a form is only voluntary and has neo bearing on your employment unless someone is silly enough to apply for a job that will make them worse. In some ways, your doctor has done you a massive favour. List COPD means that your employer has now got to carry out a risk assessment on every aspect of your job but he can't use the outcome to sack you. They may have to move you to another department....the law is on your side.

  • Hi Holly

    I would take his advice and would defo find another doctor. Bronchiectasis does not come under the umbrella of copd. It is a separate condition. Many doctors don't seem to understand this. I have had bronchiectasis all my life and only recently saw one GP I like very much and we talked for a while about bronchiectasis. When I came to look at the MC&S form he had written copd (that's why I normally fill my own MC&S forms in). However this doc is a dear man who would never speak to or treat a patient in the manner the arrogant excuse for a doc did to you. You could always take it up with the practice manager or just change docs - defo don't stay with him.

    Good luck hun.

    love cx

  • Hi cofdrop

    Thanks for your advice and I will take it up with the practice manager.

    Despite what the previous poster has advised , I don't want my employer knowing all my business. I think that I have been unlucky as I have managed to stay reasonably well for almost a year now. My consultant said this might happen but she did give me her blessing so to speak with good advice on returning to work.

    Oh well,

    Take care


  • I agree with you Holly. When I was pregnant my boss wanted me to fly to a conference. I did not want to as I had a lot of nausea and I did not think it was good for me/baby to fly, but I did not want to advise to my boss and employer at that stage that I was pregnant. So I went to dr to ask for a medical note to say that I should not fly for medical reason. I explained all that to the dr and she understood and agreed that medical condition is specific enough (she and others in the clinic put this on sick certificates). My boss at the time looked at it and said ok, but is everything alright with you though? I said yes thanks and that was it. I think you have a right to not tell unless it interferes with you doing your job or you and/or others are placed at risk by you not telling your employer. Best wishesxxx

  • There seems to be some confusion here about whether COPD is the umbrella for bronchiectasis, emphysema and other airway conditions. I'm on the side that thinks they do. I have bronchiectasis.

  • Bronchiectasis is not copd although you can have both. I am lucky that my surgery lists the 'specialisms' of each gp so you can, in theory see a gp who knows best about your condition. I am lucky to have a gp who is a bronc specialist.

    My gp always put 'bronchiectasis exacerbation' on my certificates. My employers wouldn't know what that was anyway! But I appreciate your concern with a new employer. I was working for 40 years and eventually had to give up because of my bronc.

  • Chest infection indicates illness, I personally have never heard a doctor of any sort that COPD is an infection. Hence Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary DISEASE. Bronchitis, while it can be put under the umbrella of COPD generally is not unless it meets certain criteria. So many episodes in a 6 months time period then it's called chronic bronchitis and falls under that umbrella. For those who may want to argue children get bronchitis but they don't call it COPD. With chronic bronchitis many times it has no infection associated with it just the inflammatory side. Not to say people don't get an infection who have COPD but then they call it an exacerbation. I think that doctors are less than helpful in helping people with chronic diseases, as how they word notes becomes ever so important on if a person is allowed to keep working, or if an employer decides we are not worth the trouble. Best of luck.

  • Bronchiectasis and Bronchitis are NOT the same thing!

  • No they are not....

  • No they are not....

  • So why did you write about bronchitis in a thread about Bronchiectasis

  • So why did you write about bronchitis in a thread about Bronchiectasis

  • It makes me wonder if these GP's just put COPD because it's essay my Moms friend came down in April with a chest infection she went to see her GP he gave her a blue inhaler and some antibiotics and told her the nurse would do a breathing test in about 6 weeks. 11 weeks later she has a appointment in the mean time she goes back to the nurse as she can't breath she gave her Spiriva says she thinks she has COPD but can't give her anymore antibiotics until she has her breathing test, this lady is 73 I think this is discussing her having to wait 11 weeks I took her a bowel of stew down today I hope this helps feel a bit more human

  • Not the same COPD is not Bronchiectasis, but from a GP point of view just a loose term but not to clever for work I have to say, as this implies more issues ahead possibly .. Bronchietasis has flare ups and is not the same .. Mine came from the childrens Whooping Cough strain which did a small amount of damage in the tubes. Self employed so no sick notes can allow me time off sadly its work or nothing for me work or no salary.

    Sometimes Dr's have an arrogance in loose terms they are only looking at this as an umbrella to be under but clearly it is not, however if you need a rest then use it rather than argue the terms of it.. rest up x

  • I have been confused about this for a long time. For me, I have decided to accept that i have a chest condition, and prefer to use Bronchiectasis!!!!! Whatever the name, you have a chest condition. As long as you get appropriate treatment.

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