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New equipment to benefit lung patients

SpirometerPatients with breathing problems are now able to get a quicker diagnosis while their condition can be monitored more easily thanks to a £50,000 investment in new testing equipment at West Suffolk Hospital.

The new pulmonary function testing machine (PFT) has replaced an older model previously in use at the hospital. It is being used to diagnose breathing problems and monitor the progression of illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and asthma, as well as the patient’s response to treatment.

The machine is also used for pre-op checks for patients who are being referred to Papworth for heart surgery.

To gain a reading, patients are asked to carry out a series of different tests which measure factors such as how clear and open their airways are, how well they exchange oxygen and the capacity of their lungs. They will be monitored over a period of time so that clinicians can check if their treatment is working or whether adjustments are needed. 

Tracey Cross, senior respiratory physiologist at the hospital, said: “We are delighted with this new equipment, which allows us to test patients much more quickly, in turn meaning we can see more people and continue to meet an increase in demand.

“The PFT is also improving accuracy, which means we can also tailor the therapies we use to treat the patient more effectively, in turn ensuring they receive the best possible management.” 

Gary Ingalla, service manager at the hospital, said that the investment was in line with one of the Trust’s priorities, to deliver for today. 

He added: “We are committed to maintain and improve quality standards such as rapid access to diagnostic testing while also improving facilities for our patients and staff.”

As well as the new machine, the respiratory team has also raised £8,000 to buy six spirometers for use on the wards. They have replaced aging machines which were not as portable and did not provide as much information.

The money was raised by specialist nurse Kerri Welham and F10 sister Claire Starie, who took part in a charity skydive, and by selling a staff calendar organised by F10 sister Amanda Devereux.


Charity Registration Number:1049223