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Partnership to develop specialist centres for patients who need help to breathe

Posted on Tuesday 24 September 2013

A landmark partnership between Guy’s and St Thomas’ and BOC (specialist gas company) was announced on Wednesday 18 September, which will develop specialist units for complex respiratory patients who require a ventilator to breathe. The first centre is being built in the grounds of East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, Surrey.

This centre will operate as a satellite unit, run in partnership between the internationally recognised Lane Fox Respiratory Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital and Remeo Healthcare Limited (a subsidiary of BOC).

It will enable more NHS patients to access world-leading clinical expertise in treating chronic respiratory failure and in ‘weaning’ patients who are dependent on invasive mechanical ventilation following major critical illness, enabling them to eventually return home.

The new centre will bring multiple benefits. Most importantly, it will improve outcomes for complex respiratory patients by providing multi-disciplinary, specialist care closer to home in an environment designed to be relaxing and homely, and with extended visiting hours. It will also offer training programmes for carers to learn what they can do to support patients receiving invasive tracheostomy ventilation as well as non-invasive home ventilation. Additionally, by helping these patients to return home, it will make intensive care beds available for other acutely ill people.

Dr Nicholas Hart, Director of the Lane Fox Respiratory Unit says: “We are delighted to be entering into this innovative partnership with Remeo, which will directly benefit complex respiratory patients and their families by providing care closer to home in a specifically-designed environment. It’s very rewarding to see patients returning home after a long stay in intensive care, and these centres will help many more patients achieve this milestone.”

The design of the new unit has been shaped by patients and their families in consultation with hospital staff and architect Murphy Phillips. Suggestions about ward layout, overall design, ability to access the garden areas, and private areas for families to meet together have all been incorporated into the final design.

Building work on the purpose-built facility has begun with completion scheduled for 2014, when Guy’s and St Thomas’ will advise on the appointment of Remeo staff.

The Department of Health first identified the need for specialised weaning and ventilation centres some years ago, and this venture is in line with NHS England’s plans to develop Specialist Respiratory Services.

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