The pilot clinic is a Southern Trust-wide service based in the Ramone Building at Craigavon Area Hospital and will run for six months. It will operate on each weekday – opening from 9am to 5pm.
Referrals to the clinic can be accepted from GPs or the Community Respiratory Team.
Since 2009, the Southern Trust has been providing ‘Rapid Access’ Clinics in Lurgan, Dungannon, Craigavon, Armagh and Daisy Hill Hospital.
The aim of these clinics is to offer specialist treatment at an early stage, preventing future deterioration.
This latest positive step forward will prove to be useful for people suffering from conditions like Bronchiectasis, COPD and Pulmonary Fibrosis, requiring acute respiratory assessment and intervention.
Dr Rory Convery, Consultant Respiratory Physician, feels that the pilot clinic will help provide numerous benefits to those requiring its service.
He said: “We see several hundred patients each year with a wide range of long term respiratory conditions, who have recurring hospital admissions which can be disruptive to them and greatly affects their quality of life.
“We want to help these patients to live as independently as possible and ensure that they can lead as normal a live as possible despite their condition, so by offering this rapid access to the treatment they need before their condition deteriorates we would hope to prevent and avoid inpatient admissions where we can.
“It also offers an alternative and more accessible service for these patients, with a direct route to our respiratory team and avoiding the need for patients to go through our emergency department, which we know can be stressful and difficult for them. This also frees up the Emergency Department to deal with other urgent cases.”