But now all sufferers in England aged over six will be given a spirometer to blow into and an app to share the lung data with their medical team. NHS England accelerated the home kit’s roll-out due to the pandemic, as CF sufferers have been shielding at home for the past three months. The condition causes a dangerous build-up of mucus that can clog the lungs.
Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS, below, told the Daily Express: “For patients with cystic fibrosis this is a landmark moment, offering vital health help at home.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has hit every household but for people with certain conditions, this virus is especially unsettling and dangerous.
“Which is why the NHS is looking to make sure those at greatest risk can get safe, tailored care, despite the ongoing pandemic threat.”
Dr Janet Allen, of the CF Trust charity, said: “Home spirometry to 4,000 people with CF across England really is great news.
“We’ve been working closely with NHS England to ensure more people with CF have this equipment during these difficult times, so that clinical teams can continue to make important decisions about their care.”
Meanwhile, coronavirus sufferers are now being given fingertip blood-oxygen testers to monitor their recovery when back home.
The NHS is trialling the oximeters – also linked to a phone app – to 150 patients with COVID-19, to spot dips in levels while they recover at home. The new oximeter service is being trialled in north London and Watford.
It is a collaboration with the NHS’s digital transformation unit NHSX, and British digital health start-up Huma.
Clinicians are able to track patients’ vital signs – including temperature, heart rate and blood oxygen saturation – and receive alerts if they suggest a patient is deteriorating.
The trial is to be expanded and a national rollout could begin before winter.
Natasha Patel, a coronavirus patient recovering at home, said of the oximeter: “I became very unwell with COVID-19 within days of catching it.
“Since my positive result, I’ve been using my oximeter at home and having video appointments with my doctor.
“It’s been great to have the freedom of home and the security of knowing my levels are being monitored and a clinician will be alerted if they’re concerning.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said of the CF lung-test kit and COVID-19 home monitoring equipment: “New innovations will ensure patients can benefit from the comfort of home, with the reassurance they can be fast-tracked to support from the NHS should the need arise.”
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