A woman who has been hospitalised several times because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has welcomed a partnership between Scottish health boards and the charity Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.
More than £300,000 of funding has been announced to support projects with health boards to reduce pressure on the NHS and improve care for those living with lung diseases.
Joan Brooks, 71, from Musselburgh, East Lothian, was diagnosed with the lung condition in 2017 and has been hospitalised several times because of breathing difficulties.
A total of £50,000 of the funding has been allocated to NHS Lothian who will deliver care at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.
Joan said: “COPD is a very difficult condition and affects my health in so many other ways.
“It will be so good to have a fast-response unit locally because it can be very frightening when you need emergency help.
“Knowing there is a rapid service available to provide immediate help and support will take away a lot of the stress from a difficult situation.
“I’m thrilled that Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland are supporting people like me with the funding for this service.”
A community respiratory team will be set up in NHS Grampian with about £150,000 of allocated funding and will see wraparound care for all stages of lung disease.
In NHS Highland, £53,000 has been allocated to fund a specialist respiratory nurse.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will receive £50,000 to ensure a smoother co-ordination between the health board and other partner agencies.
It is hoped that the boost will help people with lung conditions manage their illnesses at home and prevent further re-admissions to hospital.
Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said: “Respiratory services have been seriously impacted by the pandemic and are under extreme pressure. We’re delighted to deepen our partnerships with some of the biggest health boards in the country to improve care and reduce pressures on our NHS.
“We can make sure people living with chronic chest conditions have the tools and support to manage their condition and live well at home. In turn, this will help to prevent people returning to hospital and alleviate some of the pressures that our respiratory departments are facing.”
Health secretary, Humza Yousaf, also welcomed the funding boost. He said: “I commend and thank Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland for the vital work they are doing across Scotland to support people living with lung disease and respiratory conditions.
“Their work in supporting people to get back home from hospital and live well is so important, while also reducing some of the pressure on NHS services.
“That is why I welcome this collaboration and investment, and the opportunities a partnership between NHS boards and CHSS offers.”