Met Office helps cut COPD admissions

A Devon practice cut COPD-related hospital admissions by 86 per cent thanks to work with the Met Office.

The Chilcote Surgery in Torbay used the Met Office's twice-weekly weather forecasts to help patients identify weather that might exacerbate their COPD, enabling them to manage it.

COPD-related hospital admissions fell from 35 in October 2004 to five in May 2006.

Chilcote Surgery developed a COPD register to identify those most at risk and appointed a specialist nurse coordinator to communicate with patients.

COPD patients were presented with information packs, including a guide to avoid symptoms worsening.

Where appropriate, some patients are also provided with personal management plans along with medication.

When symptoms occur, patients are able to start using their medication faster, alerting their nurse or GP as soon as they do so to ensure they are monitored.

Dr Pete Moor, who works at the surgery, said: 'We have been delighted with the results of the Met Office pilot scheme.

'Not only is there clear evidence for a reduction in hospital admissions but we have noticed far less demand for urgent appointments or visits for exacerbations of COPD. It even helps quality points.'

Torbay Care Trust has appointed two community COPD nurse specialists to roll out the surgery's work to all practices in the trust.

A local enhanced service worth £1,000 plus £10 for each patient with COPD on a list will be available to practices in 2007/8.

- Are you piloting an unusual idea to reduce hospital admissions? Please send details to neil.durham@haymarket.com.

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