Press release

New Respiratory Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) Lab in Bray sets a new standard for patient-centred care

Published: 25 April 2024

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly T.D. visited a new Respiratory Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) Lab in the Integrated Care Hub, Bray on Friday 19th April to tour the facility and meet with staff and patients. Martina Queally, the recently appointed Regional Executive Officer for HSE Dublin and South East was also in attendance.

The Integrated Care Hub, Bray was the first of its kind to be opened by Minister Donnelly T.D. in 2022. The Hub delivers a range of Chronic Disease and Older Persons specialist services in the community under the HSE’s Enhanced Community Care (ECC Programme) – a Sláintecare initiative which helps reduce dependence on a hospital-central model of care.

The new Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) Lab in the Bray Hub aims to further integrate hospital and community respiratory care in order to provide patients in Wicklow with advanced diagnostics and streamlined healthcare pathways. Under this new service, GP’s in the area can refer patients directly for pulmonary testing in the community, reducing waiting lists for respiratory consultants in hospitals and allowing patients to be tested faster and closer to home. 

During his visit, Minister Donnelly T.D. discussed how the service sets a new standard for patient-centred care:

“Diagnostic services in community settings offer increased efficiencies in service delivery as well as a better experience for patients who can complete their diagnostic tests and meet the clinical team in the same visit, close to their home. This innovative service sets a new standard for patient-centred care. It also serves as a model for effective collaboration and integration within the healthcare service”.

The local Respiratory team collaborated with colleagues in St. Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH) to establish a network link between SVUH, St Michael's Hospital Dún Laoghaire and the Hub’s IT systems. This means that results from the PFT Lab in Bray can be accessed remotely by hospital consultants who review the test findings and provide a comprehensive report to the GP. Onward referrals to members of the Respiratory Integrated Care (RIC) team can then also be arranged, if required.

The service first commenced in June 2023 in SVUH and St Michael’s Hospital and it has been in operation in Bray since January. To date, 333 patients have been assessed. 32% of patients who were referred for testing haven’t required further input by the clinical team, while 37% of patients were referred onto a Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in the community. Combined this means that 69% did not require referral to a respiratory consultant, assuring consultant capacity and hospital waiting lists are optimised.

Martina Queally, Regional Executive Officer, HSE Dublin and South East, comments:

“This service is a prime example of Sláintecare in action. Integration between acute and community services is a complex process involving clinical and administrative coordination between multiple staff across various sites. It is very clear from my visit today that staff across the board are highly dedicated to working together in order to improve the care and support that is delivered to our patients. They are also witnessing the benefits of integration first-hand. The success achieved in this initiative serves as a testament to the potential of this model for other services. I look forward to supporting more of this work in the future across HSE Dublin and South East.”

Aisling Heffernan, Chief Officer, HSE Community Healthcare East, adds:

“I am delighted to welcome back Minister Stephen Donnelly T.D. and Martina Queally to the Integrated Care Hub, Bray. It is fantastic to be able to show examples of how advances in healthcare, like the new Pulmonary Function Lab, are contributing to more accessible and timely services for patients. It is also clear that the Respiratory Physiologist team is committed to providing comprehensive and holistic care by linking patients in with supplementary health and wellbeing services available in the community such as the HSE’s smoking cessation service.”

To date, the respiratory team in the hub have referred 33 patients to the HSE’s smoking cessation service. QUIT smoking services are available in multiple locations, including the Bray Hub, and offer in-person support and access to free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

The service also accepts self-referrals.

Find more information in Stop smoking and take back control

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