Thousands more appointments for people with breathing illness

Thousands of additional appointments are being provided in GP practices this winter to support people who become ill with breathing problems.

Patients are being referred to specialist “acute respiratory infection hubs” in their local area where they will see a clinician on the same day as they call.

The appointments take place in multiple locations. One or more GP practice sites have been chosen as “hubs” across the 18 Primary Care Networks that cover Derby and Derbyshire. This means people can be seen in a location that is reasonably local for them.

Primary Care Networks – which are groupings of GP practices working together to provide additional staff and services to their patients – are running the service.

These same-day appointments increase the number of people that can be seen during the busy winter period in their local area and they relieve some of the pressure on our general practices. It should also reduce the numbers of people who turn to a hospital emergency department or urgent treatment centre.

The scheme is expected to provide nearly 13,000 additional appointments across Derby and Derbyshire from the time it began in early January, up to the end of March.

Patients will be assessed and offered appropriate treatment and monitoring. This may include being referred to a “virtual” ward – where patients are monitored at home from a hospital using specialist equipment in the home.

Eight acute respiratory infection hubs were run in Derby and Derbyshire last winter, seeing around 9,000 patients between December and April.

Dr Andy Mott, a GP at Jessop Medical Practice, Alfreton, and medical director of Derby and Derbyshire GP Provider Board, said: “Winter is always a busier time for all parts of the NHS. This is partly because people get more infections. Winter can make things worse for people who have breathing problems already too.”