STRUCTURE: Patients in west Norfolk with long-term lung problems are benefiting from new GP-commissioned clinics designed to help them manage their conditions and stay out of hospital.

The clinics, which take place at two local health centres, are a partnership between specialists from Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn.

The service for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was commissioned by the West Norfolk and Wisbech Clinical Commissioning Group.

Patients can be referred to the fortnightly clinics by their GP or other health professionals, such as a practice nurse or community matron.

The service, which is delivered by respiratory nurse specialists and a respiratory physician, offers expert advice on managing conditions such as emphysema and bronchitis and monitors and treats symptoms.

Patients may also be given devices that allow them to monitor their conditions at home with readings sent electronically to Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust’s COPD team allowing staff to spot potential problems and intervene early.

Sue Crossman, interim chief executive of the clinical commissioning group, said she hoped the service would help more people remain independent.

“By providing interventions and support, we expect to help patients to avoid worsening symptoms which is obviously good for them, but will also be good for the NHS as it will reduce the number of avoidable admissions to hospitals,” she said.