PATIENTS with long-term lung complaints can now benefit from more joined-up care thanks to changes in respiratory services in the county.

Currently provided by Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, respiratory services have been brought together into a single team to provide a seamless service between hospital and home.

The Gloucestershire Respiratory Team will provide a ‘one stop shop’ for all service users at every stage of their care, with a central telephone number that gives support to GPs and other health professionals on what is available for their patients’ needs.

Between 2012 and 2013 there were over 1,000 unplanned hospital admissions in Gloucestershire as a result of a collection of diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD).

Clinical chairwoman of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and clinical lead for Respiratory services, Dr Helen Miller, said the integration was an exciting development.

“In Gloucestershire, we’re seeing an increasing number of patients with respiratory conditions that need specialist care,” she said.

“The newly-formed Gloucestershire Respiratory Team will improve the quality of information and advice people receive, reduce the amount of time they need to spend in hospital and reduce their likelihood of having to go back into hospital.”

The new-look service offers a range of options including urgent assessments, supported discharge (where a patient leaves hospital but remains under the care of a consultant and receives treatment in their home), home oxygen assessments, outpatient clinics and pulmonary rehabilitation.

COPD is the fifth biggest cause of death in the UK, the second most common cause of emergency admission to hospital accounting for approximately 10 per cent of hospital medical admissions and one of the most costly in-patient conditions treated by the NHS.