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People in the barrow area who are suffering from complex respiratory conditions can now receive more integrated support in the community

18 November 2019

The Morecambe Bay Respiratory Network is working closely with 10 GP practices in Barrow and Millom to provide more support in the community for patients with long-term conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease (ILD) and bronchiectasis with the aim of reducing outpatient appointments and hospital admissions at Furness General Hospital.

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’s (UHMBT). Four practices; Bridgate Medical Centre, Burnett Edgar Medical Centre, Duke Street Surgery and Norwood Medical Centre in Barrow have been using the MDT approach since November 2017 and since October 2019 a further six practices; Waterloo House, Risedale Surgery, Liverpool House, Abbey Road Surgery, Atkinson Health Centre and The Family Practice have come on board.

Each of these general practices has identified a respiratory team including GP’s and specialist nurses who alongside physiotherapists and occupational therapists will attend a monthly multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting with a consultant where they will discuss the diagnosis, individual treatment plans and best options for patients with complex respiratory conditions.  

The network hosted an MDT development session at the Forum on Thursday 31 October to welcome the six new practices and saw them undergo training on when to order and how to interpret lung function testing and blood testing, pulmonary rehabilitation and respiratory physiotherapy. There was also a discussion of selected cases including poorly controlled asthma, COPD, ILD and bronchiectasis. 

Presentations were carried out by Wendy Gillen, Service Manager Provider Service UHMBT, Joao Silva, Specialist Respiratory Physiologist UHMBT, Joanne Newsham, Highly Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist UHMBT, Morecambe Respiratory Consultant Dr Kathryn Prior and Clinical Lead Dr Timothy Gatheral.

Dr Arun Thimmiah said: “By offering more support in the community for people with complex respiratory conditions we hope to improve the patient journey and reduce the impact on hospital outpatients even further.”

Dr Shahedal Bari, Medical Director, said: “This new way of working links to the Better Care Together strategy with primary, secondary and community health and care services 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.”

 The Morecambe Bay Respiratory Network 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.