The Gloucestershire Respiratory Team (GRT) is celebrating after receiving Team of the Year Award at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust’s annual Staff Awards Ceremony.

Since last October, patients with long-term lung complaints have been benefiting from more joined up care following the integration of the community and hospital-based respiratory teams.

The combined GRT gives patients a seamless service between hospital and home, with co-ordinated care at every stage of their illness.

The new-look service was commissioned by NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, and offers a range of options including urgent assessments, support for patients when they are fit to leave hospital, home oxygen assessments, outpatient clinics and pulmonary rehabilitation (exercises and advice to help you cope with feeling breathless, and feel stronger and fitter).

The improved service provides a ‘one stop shop’ through a central telephone number that gives support to GPs and other health professionals on the types of care available for their patients’ needs.

Sally King, respiratory team lead from Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said:

“I nominated the team for their resilience, for constantly seeing the ‘bigger picture’ no matter what challenges they faced and for consistently delivering the highest quality of care, even whilst the teams merged.

The team is increasingly being recognised as an example of excellence within respiratory services nationally, and I have been invited to talk about our experiences across the UK, in Exeter, Plymouth, London, Manchester and Leicestershire.

I am very proud to be representing the team at events like these and am thrilled about this award which gives them the recognition they deserve for their hard work, innovative thinking and ‘can do’ attitude.”

Dr Raghuram Ananthakrishnan, Consultant Respiratory Physician at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The Gloucestershire Respiratory Team has made tremendous progress in working across GP and hospital-based care. It brings together a wide range of expertise and skills, with the shared goal of improving the care of respiratory patients in the county.

By working collaboratively and using resources effectively, we have been able to provide a truly integrated service that breaks down traditional boundaries.

Within a tight financial environment, the GRT has made huge strides in providing a very high quality service and is a trailblazer in the development of innovative joined up services.

The feedback from clinicians both in GP practices and hospitals, as well as from patients and carers, has been excellent and the team richly deserves this recognition.”

Dr Helen Miller, Clinical Chair of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and Clinical Lead for Respiratory services congratulated the team, saying:

“I’m delighted that the newly formed Gloucestershire Respiratory Team has won this award. The team is really improving the quality of information and advice people with lung complaints receive, reducing both the amount of time they need to spend in hospital and their likelihood of having to go back into hospital.

They are also an amazing support to GPs and surgery staff, helping us to cope with the increasing number of patients with respiratory conditions that need specialist care. Locally, there are around 40 to 60 new referrals every month, with most people being referred by their GP, a picture which is reflected nationally.”

Between 2012 and 2013 there were over 1,000 unplanned hospital admissions in Gloucestershire as a result of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) – a term used for a collection of diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

The team works in hospitals as well as closely with GPs and out in the local community. It helps people recover, manage their condition to feel as well as they can, and supports them as they leave hospital so that they can recover in the place that is best for them, such as a community hospitals or in their own home.