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New way of working ensuring patients get the best treatment for their respiratory conditions

4 March 2020

Ten GP practices in Furness have adopted a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach to improve their knowledge of long-term respiratory conditions including asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, bronchiectasis and Interstitial Lung Disease, and the best ways to manage them.

Each of the GP practices has identified a respiratory team including GPs and specialist nurses who alongside physiotherapists and occupational therapists attend Morecambe Bay Respiratory Network (MBRN) monthly MDT meetings with a consultant where they discuss the diagnosis, individual treatment plans and best options for patients with complex respiratory conditions. There are two monthly MDTs held every month – one for the north Lancashire locality and one for the Furness locality.

There they also undertake training such as how to interpret lung function testing and blood testing, pulmonary rehabilitation and respiratory physiotherapy.

This way of working was adopted in 2017 by general practices in North Lancashire and has had a real impact with a 40% reduction in referrals to outpatients at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).

Dr Arun, Barrow GP.pngDr Arun Thimmiah, a GP at Abbey Road Surgery based in the new Alfred Barrow Health Centre, said: “I think an MDT approach to manage complex respiratory disease issues is the way forward.

“Being aware of the various options and help that is out there helps us think differently and signpost people appropriately at an early stage to help resolve some of the psychosocial issues and better manage their care. It also opens up the option of getting some more specialised investigations like high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) to evaluate our patients better. Having a consultant at the meeting helps us clarify complicated clinical issues and learn about how best to manage them.”

Dr Shahedal Bari, Medical Director, UHMBT, said: “The respiratory MDT sessions are a fantastic way of GPs coming together with the wider respiratory teams and secondary care to discuss complex patients and provide the best possible treatment plan for them. It is a great way of improving knowledge and sharing best practice.”

The MBRN operates as a cohesive partnership between primary; secondary and community care providers to proactively and consistently manage respiratory disease to a high standard across the bay. This new way of working is another example of Bay Health and Care Partners working together more effectively to provide better care in the community, which will keep people across Morecambe Bay healthier and at home for longer without having to come into hospital.