STRUCTURE: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients in Bedfordshire are being offer support closer to home in a bid to reduce emergency admissions.

Staff from Bedford Hospital and Luton and Dunstable Hospital are offering face-to-face assessment and treatment clinics in 12 sites, plus telephone contact for carers and health professionals.

In 2010 there were 810 hospital admissions in Bedfordshire related to chronic respiratory conditions. The new service could save £500,000 a year.

Dr Enson Thomas, consultant chest physician at Bedford Hospital, said “We are delighted to be providing a new service for COPD patients which will see our respiratory team working more in the community, alongside primary care teams, to ensure these patients can access the personalised and specialist care they need, closer to home.

“This will not only reduce the need for COPD patients to come into hospital for their treatment, it will also mean that our COPD inpatients can go home earlier and have full access to a specialist respiratory team from the comfort of their home.”