Now out-patients can breathe easier

PATIENTS living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can now receive much of their support and care closer to home, instead of attending appointments at hospital, thanks to a new community service launched by NHS Bedfordshire.

COPD is a long term condition affecting more than 8,000 people a year in Bedfordshire. Often caused by smoking, it affects the lungs, causes breathing difficulties and requires long-term healthcare management.

The service is being provided jointly by Bedford Hospital and Luton and Dunstable Hospital in local community settings across the county. Specialist staff from the service will manage and monitor their patients’ condition, whilst also providing phone and face-to-face support for carers and healthcare professionals.

The aim is to reduce the number of avoidable admissions to hospital, and to reduce the time patients have to stay in hospital if they in-patient treatment.

In 2010 there were more than 2,000 hospital attendances in Bedfordshire relating to chronic respiratory conditions such as COPD.