NHS in England to help people with CF stay home and safe

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The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has been working with NHS England and the UK CF Medical Association (UKCFMA) to support the roll out of home monitoring devices and apps to help people with CF stay well at home and spot health problems early during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Thousands of people with CF in England over the age of six years old will be equipped with digital home spirometry kits, giving them the opportunity to monitor and share clinical data on their lung function with their CF teams without needing to leave home unnecessarily and make often lengthy journeys to hospital.

Monitoring lung function may help alert people with CF and their teams to a deterioration in their health, and to explore treatment earlier.

Home-based spirometry is seen as a vital health measurement for people with CF by the CF National Network, which advised NHS England, and is a key element of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s investment in digital health.

Professor Andy Menzies-Gow, NHS National Clinical Director for Respiratory Services said: “The measurement of lung function, which normally occurs in hospitals, is essential to tracking disease progression and deciding changes in treatment. Enabling thousands of cystic fibrosis patients across England to provide this information without leaving their home is a vitally important step change in reducing the need for hospital attendances or admissions.”

The CF National Network includes Dr Andy Jones, Trustee at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, alongside Dr Caroline Elston, chair of the Trust-supported UKCFMA, while the Trust is also represented on NHS England’s Specialised Respiratory Clinical Reference Group.

The UK CF Registry provided data to help NHS England write its commissioning guidance to enable it to launch the new spirometer initiative.

Dr Janet Allen, Director of Strategic Innovation at the Trust, said: “The expansion of home spirometry by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) to 4,000 people with CF across England is great news. If patients can share the data, it will help clinical teams make important decisions about care during these difficult times, making it easier for people with CF to monitor their own health while routine face-to-face outpatient clinics are on hold.”

In addition to this, devolved NHS services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are looking into rolling out their own initiatives for providing home spirometry. The Trust will continue to monitor these developments and will update the community as and when we learn more.

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