North East Connected

New service to help people with lung problems

A new service hopes to help people with respiratory disease across Newcastle.

The new Community Spirometry Service launched on 2 October 2017 to improve the diagnosis of a range of respiratory conditions, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

COPD is the name for a group of lung conditions that causes breathing difficulties, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke. Many people may not realise that they have it.

Dr Guy Pilkington, local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group said: “COPD is a significant issue for us in the north east, where we have a heritage of industrial disease and continue to have a high rate of smokers. COPD is a condition which does not get better, and can be very debilitating for people living with it.

“There is evidence that COPD has a much bigger impact on a person’s health in the early stages of the disease, so it is important that people receive a diagnosis as soon as possible.”

Patients who are diagnosed late, or whose condition is not diagnosed correctly, can often find themselves being admitted to hospital. Nationally, 10% of emergency COPD admissions are for patients who have not been previously diagnosed.

Dr Pilkington added: “The new service will help us to ensure that people in Newcastle who are suffering from lung problems are being diagnosed quickly and accurately, so that they can begin to receive the care and support that they need.”

It is estimated that over 11,000 people in Newcastle live with COPD. By getting an early, accurate diagnosis, patients will receive treatment earlier which has been shown to improve quality of life for longer.

As a patient, you can be referred to the community spirometry service by your GP or practice nurse. Clinics are being held across the city between 8:30am and 3pm, Monday to Thursday:

For more information on COPD, visit:

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