A new Rapid Access Respiratory Clinic at Craigavon Area Hospital is helping to prevent hospital admissions for those suffering from long term respiratory conditions such as COPD, Bronchiectasis and Pulmonary Fibrosis.
The new clinic has initially been established as a six month pilot and began accepting referrals from across the Southern Trust area in September 2015. The service is based in Ward 2 North at Craigavon Area Hospital and operates each weekday.
The Southern Local Commissioning Group (LCG) has funded the pilot clinic which is being implemented through Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) in the Southern area – networks of Southern Health and Social Care Trust staff, GPs, pharmacists, voluntary and community groups, service users and carers, all of whom are working together to deliver joined up and person centred care.
Dr David Rodgers, Chair and GP lead of the Armagh/ Dungannon ICP explains:
“Working together the members of the Southern ICPs designed this innovative new service, secured funding and established a real alternative to hospital admission for patients whose respiratory conditions have worsened. At the request of the patient’s GP or the Community Respiratory Team this clinic provides expert assessment, initial treatment and, provided it is safe for the patient to return home, will link with the Community Respiratory Team to ensure ongoing expert care in the patient’s home.”
More than 70 patients have already benefitted from receiving specialist intervention and treatment at an early stage, preventing future deterioration of their condition and avoiding hospital admission for more than 90% of those treated.
Dr McNicholl, Consultant Respiratory Physician for the Rapid Access Respiratory Clinic adds:
“Each year in the Southern Trust several hundred patients with long term respiratory conditions have recurring hospital admissions which can be disruptive to them and greatly affects their quality of life.
“We want to help these patients to live as independently as possible and ensure that they can lead as normal a live as possible despite their condition, so by offering this rapid access to the treatment they need before their condition deteriorates we would hope to improve the speed of the patients recovery and prevent the need for inpatient admissions where we can.
“It also offers an alternative and more accessible service for these patients, with a direct route to our respiratory team and avoiding the need for patients to go through our emergency department, which we know can be stressful and difficult for them. This also frees up the Emergency Department to deal with other urgent cases.”