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Transforming respiratory care – innovation or necessity?

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COPD patient The pandemic severely impacted the provision of respiratory care, but for better or for worse?

In respiratory care the pandemic has changed practice irrevocably with most health care professionals (HCP) divided as to whether it has changed for the better or the worse.1 Remote consultations have been seen by many as a means of contacting patients who previously did not engage, whilst others have felt that not physically seeing patients may be leaving many at risk.

As a pragmatist the opportunity to restart spirometry in May 20212 was welcomed and some early patients reviewed had significant loss of lung function and missed diagnosis, reinforcing the belief that more harm was being done by not restarting. This discussion about the restarting this
basic – yet essential – lung function test has led commissioners and service providers to review models of care and funding associated with diagnostic spirometry.

National bodies have advocated the importance of early and accurate diagnosis in respiratory disease pre pandemic,3 but this is now of increasing importance given the two year ‘ban’ on lung function testing and the back log of testing that has arisen.

Case study

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