A new clinic is revolutionising the way respiratory care is delivered in the community and is reducing the need for some patients to be hospitalised for their conditions.

The one-stop-shop for patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD ), (a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties ), is based at Moycullen primary care centre.

Patients can access a consultant, a clinical nurse specialist, a physiotherapist, and respiratory physiologist at the facility which opened at the end of April. They receive a diagnosis during their visit to the clinic.

Sixty patients have attended the service so far reducing the need for people to attend hospital clinics. The fact that their lung conditions are being treated in the community means fewer patients need to be admitted to hospital for these conditions.

“The goal of this clinic is to provide comprehensive care for patients who have symptoms suggestive of asthma or COPD,” says Denise Dunne, operational lead for the Integrated Care Programme for the Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease (ICPCD ) in Galway city.

“The new clinic is equipped with the latest diagnostic technologies and is staffed by a specialist team of highly experienced respiratory specialists, dedicated to offering personalised, individualised effective treatment plans for each individual patient.”

The centre is revolutionising the way respiratory care is delivered in the local community by leveraging diagnostic tools, including lung function testing to accurately identify and diagnose various respiratory conditions including COPD and asthma. These technologies enable the clinic’s team of respiratory experts to detect lung conditions early, design targeted treatment plans, monitor patient progress and enrol patients on pulmonary rehabilitation; resulting in improved patient outcomes and a higher quality of life.

Dr Sinead Walsh, a respiratory consultant aligned to the Galway City Integrated Care Hub says it was “exciting” to bring this one-stop-shop respiratory clinic to patients in the community.

“Our clinic is designed to provide patients with access to the highest level of care, all under one roof. Our team of specialists includes a respiratory consultant, respiratory physiologist, specialist physiotherapist, and clinical nurse specialist who are fully committed to working closely with patients and their general practitioners (GPs ) to ensure a seamless, integrated approach to managing their respiratory health.”

The clinic’s opening is a significant milestone in the roll out of the Enhanced Community Care (ECC ) programme in the west - ECC is a €240 million investment in community health services that is part of the Sláintecare programme. The ECC western programme is jointly governed by the Saolta University Health Care Group and Community Healthcare West (CHW ). The initiative is enhancing and increasing community health services and reducing pressure on hospitals.

The programme helps health and social care services to:

Manage care at a local level

Support the transition from hospitals to the community

The Moycullen clinic will address the growing need to provide specialised respiratory care closer to patients’ homes which is especially beneficial for older people and those with chronic disease.

The clinic’s team is also introducing a Frequent Exacerbator Clinic. This will support those with a confirmed diagnosis of asthma or COPD, who are struggling to manage their condition independently. “By optimising those who frequently exacerbate, the goal is to reduce hospital admissions related to these lung conditions.”

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 65 million people worldwide suffer from moderate to severe COPD while asthma affects over 330 million people.

For more information about the services on offer within the hub log on to www.hse.ie/eng/cho2/ecc/healthlink-info-gps.html

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