Just over a thousand patients have now received CPAP (Continuous Positive Airways Pressure) treatment from the James Paget Respiratory Sleep Service, and it continues to expand to offer many more patients prompt assessment and support for sleep apnoea and other sleep disorders.
The Sleep Service team
The team have seen more than 4,000 new patients since the Respiratory Sleep Service was established in 2009, with the number of long term therapy users crossing the 1,000 milestone.
Before 2009, patients with sleep disorders or sleep apnoea had to travel to Papworth hospital in Cambridgeshire for diagnosis and treatment. This could mean several round trips of more than 200 miles for appointments for local people, and so the new service was widely welcomed when it began at the Paget and around 250 patients were seen in the first year.
Over the years, the team has steadily seen increasing number of patient referrals. As the reputation of the service has grown, it has seen more and more patients referred beyond our traditional boundaries. A significant risk factor for sleep apnoea is being overweight and this goes some way to explain the high referral rates for this condition.
The one-stop service is run by a dedicated team of experienced staff led by Consultant Physician Dr Venkat Mahadevan, ably supported by Consultant Dr Paul Babu, Chief Respiratory Physiologist Jay Lingwood, Senior Physiologist Mr Matthew Scott, Nurse Specialist Sister Alexa Ellis, Operational Manager Phil Weihser and administrative staff.
Dr Mahadevan said: “After receiving an appropriate referral from a GP or from elsewhere within the hospital, patients undergo an overnight sleep study that is carried out in the comfort of their own home. Patients pick up a boxed kit with simple instructions on how to set up the sleep monitoring equipment that monitors heart rate, oxygen levels, body position/movements and intensity of snoring. They can then drop if off back to us the next morning and the data is analysed.
“The patients are then seen in clinic with the results by the consultants. If a patient has significant sleep apnoea then they are provided with CPAP therapy within a few weeks. Patients are seen on a priority basis, particularly if, for example, they are an HGV or taxi driver, where both the diagnosis and treatment is crucial to their livelihood.
“As the number of patients increased we were outgrowing the space we had within the main hospital. Hence, we moved about eighteen months ago to the Norfolk Coastal Centre to increase our capacity. Now the service will be further enhanced with improvements to facilities to ensure we are fit for purpose as we move forward.”
Sleep and Lung Function Services Chief Respiratory Physiologist and Lead Allied Health Professional/ Health Care Scientist Jay Lingwood said the service had received plenty of positive feedback.
“We provide support, services and therapies to those with sleep and respiratory conditions and, in addition to our local patients, we provide advice and guidance for holidaymakers visiting the area too. The thank you cards and feedback we receive helps to shape the service and shows how much it is appreciated now it is provided closer to home.”
Divisional Operational Manager Phil Weihser, said; “Our goal is to continue to develop and innovate this high performing service to ensure that appropriate patients are seen in a timely manner; ensuring provision of high quality, effective care for the local population. This is vitally important given the crucial role that the Sleep and Respiratory Physiology services plays with the diagnosis and treatment of a number of respiratory conditions, including lung cancer.”