More patients with a common lung disease can now be treated at Wigan Infirmary thanks to the opening of a larger unit.
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust will be able to see twice as many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), seating 10 patients at a time.
The unit has grown significantly from its early days, when it was limited to one chair and a bedside table in a ward.
COPD is currently one of the most common respiratory diseases in Wigan and obstructs the airways, making it difficult to breathe.
The new area was officially opened by the trust’s chief executive Andrew Foster, watched by staff and members of a support group.
At the opening, he said: “I’d like to thank you all for the effort that has gone into this move.
“It was lovely to meet so many regular COPD patients and hear directly how much they appreciate the staff and the service. This will now be even better thanks to the much improved environment.”
Joanne Wright, lead COPD specialist nurse, said: “I’d like to thank all of the staff that have contributed to our unit moving.
“It feels brilliant to be in our unit and I’m so happy because I know our patients are going to get an even better service from us now.”
Patients can either self-refer or be referred by a medical professional to the COPD team, which will conduct a nurse-led assessment and produce a treatment package.
Patients will be seen at home two to three times a week for the following fortnight and receive weekly follow-up phone calls, before a round-up assessment after six weeks.
They are seen in the unit when experiencing an exacerbation of their COPD symptoms and needing urgent treatment. A support group was set up 18 months ago to help maintain the link with patients and relieve their anxieties around receiving treatment.
The group is open to anyone with COPD or respiratory disease, as well as their friends and relatives, and meets at Tesco in Hindley on the last Wednesday of every month between 3pm and 5pm.