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A new streamlined approach to lung disease care

An innovative, multi-disciplinary model of providing treatment for patients with lung diseases is reducing waiting times at Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

Supported by the Bevan Commission’s Exemplar programme, the hospital is delivering a new model of service for patients, utilising the expertise of a number of allied health professionals working together to deliver high quality, evidence-based healthcare in a timely manner.

Interstitial Lung Diseases (ILD) are a diverse group of conditions that may be progressive and some ultimately fatal. Therefore, timely access to specialist care, diagnostics and appropriate support during the course of the illness is crucial.

Under the new model, harnessing prudent healthcare concepts, patients are seen by the correct person at the correct time. This has resulted in time to first appointment and diagnosis being significantly reduced.

Dr Ruth Williams is a respiratory consultant at the hospital. She explained: “The idea of this project, was to create a more streamlined and joined up approach to treating patients with these serious lung conditions. Key to this, is the development of a pharmacy-led service. Utilising the skills of a prescribing pharmacist reduces pressure on consultant and nurse clinics but more importantly provides patients with access to a specialist pharmacist to monitor their medications ensuring patient safety as well as efficacy.

“For patients with stable levels of disease, we have created a one-stop review system. This means that they have a clinical review coupled with breathing tests, both undertaken by a senior physiologist, saving multiple appointments with various clinicians.

“We have reduced the number of patients needing to follow up with a consultant, the knock effect being reduced waiting times and hot clinic appointments to review urgent patients within two weeks. We are ensuring our patients have timely access to the right healthcare professional for their clinical needs and this is a fundamental policy of prudent healthcare.”

Patients are already benefitting from this approach.

Patient A said: “The one stop shop approach adopted by Princess of Wales Hospital has enabled great transparency for both patient and staff. As a patient it gave me complete confidence”.

Patient B commented: “Patient care at Princess of Wales Hospital has always been outstanding, but new inter department structure and practices have given even greater benefit to the patient”.