Innovative Mobile Respiratory Unit supporting patients affected by chronic respiratory illness in Cwm Taf Morgannwg

October marks the end of a 6 month innovative healthcare pilot (May – November 22) involving Cwm Taf Morgannwg and Hywel Dda University Health Boards' Respiratory Innovation Wales (RIW) and Life Science Hub Wales.

One in twelve people is affected by respiratory illness in Wales, with the highest prevalence of asthma in Europe.  

The COVID-19 pandemic meant that access to respiratory diagnostic testing services within NHS Wales became very challenging. Due to COVID, hospital based services were having to absorb community testing due to new operating procedures for managing the risk of infection, making it very difficult for community based services to be delivered.

Working in collaboration, all the partners came together to find an innovative solution to ensure that patients on a waiting list for respiratory testing could be seen, and potentially diagnosed, as quickly as possible.

A Mobile Respiratory Unit was commissioned and started seeing its first patients in the communities of Cwm Taf Morgannwg and Hywel Dda from May 10, 2022.

Operated by Health Board (respiratory) staff, the self-contained clinical unit started carrying out two key diagnostic tests for respiratory conditions.

Firstly, on arrival at the unit, staff test the air capacity of a patient’s lungs, known as spirometry testing. Then, if necessary, a further diagnostic test happens for asthma, known as FeNO testing. Depending on the results, the patient is referred to their GP for further healthcare support and treatment.  


Denise Lowry, Head of Value – Based Healthcare at CTM, UHB said:

“This Unit has allowed us to take diagnostic testing into the heart of our local communities, enabling us to see patients who have been waiting for tests, provide the results to their GPs and deliver care much closer to home.  With the project now completed, a full evaluation will get underway.

“On the last day of service for the Unit, it has been fantastic to bring together all our partners and to hear from some of our patients. We wish to thank everyone involved in this pilot but would like to give particular thanks to our respiratory teams in CTM and Hwyel Dda; they have organised the system of booking patients into clinics with such proficiency, efficiency and have provided such a person-centred care service”.

The unit has been moving to different locations between the two Health Boards at 1-week intervals.

EMS Healthcare worked with us to design de-centralised care units for use within NHS Wales.

The Mobile Respiratory Unit Project was approved and supported by Welsh Government.

On completion of the project, 902 patients have been tested at the Mobile Respiratory Unit.

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