Respiratory Conditions


  • Asthma prevalence in Wakefield (6.7%) is significantly higher than the national average (5.9%).
  • COPD prevalence in Wakefield (2.9%) is also significantly higher than the national average (1.9%).
  • Asthma is more prevalent in females (7.7%) than males (5.8%), and this gap widens in the older age groups.
  • COPD is far more prevalent in the older age groups, with around 12% of the over 70’s having COPD.
  • Pneumonia has the highest rate of emergency admission for a respiratory condition (497 admissions a year per 100,000 population), with COPD also high (317 admissions a year per 100,000 population).
  • There are large inequalities in respiratory conditions, with people living in deprived areas far more likely to have respiratory conditions, be admitted to hospital because of them and to die as a result of these conditions.

The Population

Different respiratory conditions affect people at different ages. Asthma can appear at any age and can be caused by several different factors such as family history, allergies, exposure to smoking and exposure to substances at work. Adult females are also more likely to develop asthma than males, which is seen in Wakefield with 7.7% of women having asthma compared to 5.8% of men.

COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is most commonly caused by smoking, thought to be responsible for 9 out of 10 cases, and generally develops in people over 40 years. In Wakefield around 12% of over 70’s have COPD, compared to less than 2% of those aged under 50.

Pneumonia is most commonly caused by bacteria, however it may also be caused by viruses or fungi, and can affect people of any age, however it is more common in the more vulnerable groups such as the very young or the elderly. Each year around 1,800 people in Wakefield are admitted as an emergency to hospital for Pneumonia.

The Challenges

The British Lung Foundation estimates that respiratory disease costs the UK around £11 billion a year, both in terms of direct costs of treatment and through lost productivity. They found that around 29% of these costs were associated with COPD, with approximately 28% associated with respiratory cancers. You can read their report here: Estimating the economic burden of respiratory illness in the UK.

As highlighted by this report, respiratory cancers are also a major concern when addressing respiratory conditions. You can read about these, as well as other cancers, on our Cancer page

Wakefield has higher prevalence of both Asthma and COPD than the national position, as well as much higher smoking prevalence. All these things will contribute to Wakefield having a higher than average cost of respiratory disease.

The below shows how Wakefield compares to other local areas on several key respiratory indicators:

Use the arrows to scroll to Wakefield


You can use the ‘Geography version’ dropdown to see different indicators.


The Inequality

Asthma and COPD Prevalence

We have developed local estimates of asthma and COPD prevalence, based on data from primary care systems. This allows us to assess the level of inequality across different geographies, genders and age groups.

The prevalence of asthma varies across the district, with those in the poorer sections of society more likely to have the condition than those in the affluent areas, however the inequality gap is not as great as in other conditions. Women are also more likely to have asthma than men.

Asthma is also more prevalent in certain areas of Wakefield district. Wards such as South Elmsall and South Kirkby (9.5%), Knottingley (9.2%) and Hemsworth (9.0%) are amongst the areas with the highest asthma prevalence rates.

The prevalence of COPD varies much more than asthma, with a strong correlation to areas of deprivation.

COPD is also more prevalent in certain areas of Wakefield district. Wards such as Hemsworth (4.6%), South Elmsall and South Kirkby (3.86%) and Featherstone (3.85%) are amongst the areas with the highest COPD prevalence rates.

The dashboard below demonstrates some of the differences in estimated prevalence across different age groups, genders and wards in Wakefield district. You can use the interactive dashboard to explore these inequalities.

Source: Primary Care Data Systems

Mortality and Hospital Admissions

Respiratory conditions are one of the leading causes of hospital admission, particularly in the older age groups. For COPD and pneumonia there is a strong correlation between deprivation and the rate of hospital admissions, with those in the more deprived sections of the community more likely to be admitted. With Asthma, this relationship exists, but is not as strong. On the bar chart below you may notice that Decile 6 appears to have a very high rate of admission in 2014/15, however this is related to just two individuals having multiple admissions within the same year.

Several respiratory conditions can ultimately lead to death, again the rate of mortality is strongly linked to age and deprivation of an individual. The mortality rates for respiratory conditions have been falling in recent years in Wakefield. When looking at all respiratory conditions the mortality rate has fallen from 66 per 100,000 in 2006-08 down to 53 per 100,000 in 2013-15.

The dashboards below give some more detail about the breakdown and trend in mortality and hospital admissions related to respiratory conditions:

Sources: SUS, ONS

Source: SUS, ONS population estimates

You can explore the geographical differences in the prevalence of respiratory conditions, respiratory admissions and respiratory mortality below.

Sources: SUS, ONS, Primary Care Data Systems

Service Provision

To be completed

Community Assets