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Thursday 29 September 2016
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Practices on weather alert see fall in chronically ill patients

Primary care trusts which have signed up to a service that forecasts when the weather is likely to be particularly bad for lung disease patients have achieved a 20% drop in hospital admissions.

The scheme targets chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, who suffer from long-term lung conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema. It warns them of risks posed by snaps of cold weather, and offers advice on what precautionary measures they can take to keep themselves healthy.

In the 189 general practices which have signed up to the scheme, there has been a 21% reduction in hospital admissions compared with the previous year - which compares with a fall of just 3% in practices not using the scheme.

Wayne Elliott, the head of the Met Office forecasting team, said that the service had been welcomed by patients, who appreciated having extra information about their condition and what they can do about it.

"We remind them about the importance of keeping warm, the temperature to keep their room at, exercising, trying to avoid the low temperatures and seeking medical advice at an early stage," he said.

"With a small adjustment to their lives in the run up to the cold weather, they can significantly reduce the likelihood of their getting poorly."

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