Celebrating the success of Morecambe Bay Respiratory Network over the past year

Date posted: 25th June 2021

Morecambe Bay Respiratory Network was formed in 2016, following ‘respiratory care’ being identified as a priority in the NHS’ Long Term Plan. The Network has successfully brought together primary, secondary and community care providers who manage patients with respiratory disease with the aim of providing more effective and better care in the community, avoiding the need for some patients to attend hospital appointments.

During 2020/21, Morecambe Bay Respiratory Network (MBRN) has achieved an overall reduction of 69% in GP referrals in North Lancashire, Millom and Barrow to Respiratory Outpatient services at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT). There has been an increase of 33% compared with the overall percentage of reductions seen in 2019/20 (36%).

The MBRN uses a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) approach to diagnose and treat patients with complex respiratory conditions. Fourteen GP practices have an identified respiratory team, including GPs, advanced practitioners and practice nurses, who attend monthly MBRN MDT meetings (held virtually during the pandemic). 

The MDT is attended by Respiratory Consultants, specialist nurses, respiratory physiotherapists and other members of the community respiratory teams.  The MDT will discuss new diagnoses, individual treatment plans and best options for patients with complex respiratory conditions. There are two monthly MDTs held each month-one for the north Lancashire locality and one for the Furness locality.

Dr Patrick Haslam, local GP and Clinical Lead for MBRN, said: “During the pandemic, we have seen a general reduction in referrals to the hospital. However, our MDT approach has continued to have significant benefits for patients and all teams involved, building on earlier success in reducing and improving referrals.

“Not only can we reduce GP referrals to the respiratory services at our local hospitals, it often means earlier access to specialist input and more a more holistic assessment of a patient’s needs. This closer working between the specialist teams and GPs means we are more effectively managing the care of our patients with long-term respiratory conditions. We can offer specialist management within the patient’s own surgery and tailored to their own specific needs.”

Patient feedback has included:

 “My initial reaction to this new approach is very positive and I hope if it can be maintained will help reduce my visits to hospital. The support which I am receiving, in conjunction with the community matron service, is very encouraging and I just hope that this new, or revised, approach can be maintained in spite of the extreme pressure on the NHS.”

“Through my appointments, I have clarity of my diagnosis and have had my treatment changed, which stopped my cough and improved breathlessness.”

The MBRN is looking to expand the MDTs to other areas across the Bay including South Lakeland and develop the acute respiratory service to manage more patients at home.

The MBRN operates as a cohesive partnership between primary, secondary and community care providers to proactively and consistently manage respiratory disease to a high standard across the bay. This new way of working is another example of the Bay Health and Care Partners working together more effectively to provide better care in the community, which will keep people across Morecambe Bay healthier and at home for longer without having to come to hospital.

The Bay Health and Care Partners are sharing stories of work that is taking place locally to support communities as part of 'Love Your Lungs Week'. The awareness week takes place from 21-27 June. You can find out more at British Lung Foundation’s website here https://www.blf.org.uk/take-action/campaign/loveyourlungsweek  

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