A nurse led service aimed at keeping respiratory patients out of accident and emergency has been launched across Suffolk.
The scheme sees patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who dial 999 assessed initially by ambulance paramedics then, where appropriate, visited by nurse specialists for treatment rather than admitted to hospital.
The service guarantees that a nurse specialist will visit the patient that day, with an aim of arriving within four hours.
The nurse team behind the scheme estimates up to 60 per cent of COPD patients who ring 999 could be kept out of hospital.
The scheme is run by a respiratory nurse consultant who manages a team of respiratory nurse specialists, mainly working at band 6. It began after nurses audited admission figures and concluded that more than half could be avoided if prompt clinical help was provided.