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Yorkshire & Humber AHSN helps to secure more than £350k of funding to support asthma sufferers

Posted: 16th June 2021

Access to asthma care for vulnerable and hard to reach groups in Yorkshire and the Humber is set to be improved, thanks to £353,376 of funding that we helped to secure.

The NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative’s Pathway Transformation Funding will support two major projects that will improve asthma care and facilitate access to vital services.

Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership has been awarded funds to provide FeNO testing to GP practices across the region. FeNO testing is a method that assists with the diagnosis of asthma by measuring fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) in the breath of patients suspected of having the condition. Having the opportunity to have this testing facility available across Humber, Coast and Vale will help facilitate the identification of patients suffering from asthma who need extra support.

FeNO testing is part of the Rapid Uptake Products programme designed to support stronger adoption and spread of proven innovations into the NHS.

Kathy Scott, Director of Operations and Deputy CEO of Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, commented: “We are thrilled that we were able to help to secure this funding opportunity to support this great project that will help improve asthma care for thousands of people across the region.

“The Rapid Uptake Products programme supports stronger adoption and spread of proven innovations. Innovations like the FeNO testing will help to provide better patient care and improve outcomes by more effective diagnosis of patients suspected of having asthma”.

Dr Michael Crooks, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “We are delighted to have been awarded pathway transformation funding to support the implementation of FeNO testing within asthma pathways across Humber Coast and Vale (HCV). With over 100,000 asthma patients in the region and 1,500-2,000 new diagnoses made each year, this will have a significant positive impact on care for many people. The collaboration between health care professional and organisations across HCV reflected in this programme will be the key to its success and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work towards all patients in HCV having access to FeNO testing”.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals have been awarded funds to progress with an asthma project looking at the barriers that prevent ethnic minority groups from accessing the care they need. Amongst minority communities, there is still a high prevalence of asthma cases that are inadequately treated. For instance, for many, English is not their first language, and it is important to ensure patients have access to information in a number of different languages. There are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding asthma such as the belief that it is infectious, or that it is a psychological disease.

Dr Llinos Jones, respiratory consultant at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’ve been working for years trying to address health inequalities for patients with asthma who struggle to read and write in English, and yet need to self-manage a chronic condition.

“I was initially asked to help set up a branch of our Difficult Asthma service in Dewsbury, a service that provides assessment and treatment for asthmatics who need more than the standard asthma treatment.

“While there, I quickly recognised that there were very few resources available for patients who didn’t speak English. With 1 in 6 people functionally illiterate in the country and large communities of people whose first language isn’t English, this wasn’t something I was willing to accept.

“Alongside the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network who helped me tender the bid, we have set about addressing some of the communication inequalities that contribute to poorer outcomes for those from minority ethnic backgrounds and those with learning difficulties. It’s a fantastic development to have secured funding which will go some way in helping us tackle the communication barriers that cause these poor outcomes.”

Kathy Scott added: “The pandemic has exacerbated the health inequalities already existing in our region in particular for minority communities and people living in areas of high deprivation, and projects like this are vital to help reduce those inequalities.

“Furthermore, local healthcare teams are better placed to understand the needs of their population and find the best solutions in their approaches to patient care”.

Over the last 12 months we have supported bids for funding that have resulted in over £5.3m of new healthcare investment coming into Yorkshire and the Humber, of which these two projects are just an example.

Harriet Smith, programme manager at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, worked closely with colleagues at Humber, Coast and Vale ICS and with Dr Jones at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to secure these funding opportunities. She added: “It has been a privilege working with respiratory clinicians across the Yorkshire and Humber region, and being able to produce such innovative, high quality PTF bids.

“Their commitment to improving respiratory services, especially during the Covid pandemic, when there has been such significant pressure on their clinical time was evident; and it will be exciting to work with the recipients in the coming years to see the impact that these projects have on asthma patients across Yorkshire”.

If you would like to know more about how we can support your project, you can find out more in our latest Impact Report.