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January 2021

PCRS launches toolkit to improve respiratory care

The Primary Care Respiratory Society (PCRS) has put together a pragmatic, easy to use Quality Improvement Tool to help commissioners, providers and health care professionals overcome the challenges of delivering respiratory services, to reduce variation in care and help to demonstrate what excellence is.

Patients with respiratory disease deserve equal access to early and accurate diagnosis, high standards of care, delivered by practitioners with suitable training and experience.  Barriers to such a standardised level of service design however may include knowhow, resources and expertise.  

PCRS’s Quality Improvement Tool aligns the Respiratory Service Framework’s six pillars of care with PCRS Fit to Care guidance.  Thus, bringing together care needs across the complete patient pathway and the resources, healthcare professionals and expertise required to deliver across that pathway. 

The online, interactive toolkit includes a workforce calculation tool, a series of workforce audit surveys, templates for job descriptions plus a library of resources to further clinical knowledge and skills in addition to advice on service re-design and delivery 

How does it work?

The workforce calculation tool works on a simple formula to help service designers calculate the number of practitioners, type of clinical roles and the amount of sessions each clinician would likely require to fulfil an average population’s needs.  By entering the population size the service is designed for, the tool will show the number and level of clinical professions required.

 A series of workforce audit tools enable service designers to properly understand and analyse the capabilities and activities of their existing workforce.  Rarely done in practice, but vital to highlight skills gaps, training needs, this self-rated audit tool helps managers and commissioners to see whether roles are truly aligned to the needs and requirements of a patient focused service.  Once complete, the audit can inform planning, budgets, recruitment and training needs.   

A library of over 250 resources, including guidance, podcasts, infographics, posters and publications searchable by clinical area (e.g. asthma, lung cancer, COPD), pillar of care (i.e. from prevention through treatment to through end of life) and fit to care level (i.e. standard, advanced or expert).    Practitioners looking to build their knowledge, find evidence, or source resources for any aspect of the respiratory patient pathway can search for it here.  PCRS will continue to add to this library of resources and are keen to hear from healthcare professionals, managers or commissioners if they identify new resources that could be included.  

Finally, the toolkit provides job description templates for each level of practitioner that service designers may want to recruit.  The Word documents are fully editable, and cover the principles responsibility, key clinical duties, and educational qualifications that recruiters should be looking for in those roles.  

Dr Daryl Freeman, Associate Clinical Director for Norfolk Community Health and Care, and Chair of PCRS Service Development committee said: ‘This new toolkit transcends all levels of care and all professions.  It acts to inform, advise and practically assist all of those involved in delivering or commisioning care: to design and deliver excellence in respiratory care.  Whether you’re a time pressed nurse with ten minutes to spare to look for a poster or visual aid, or a commissioning GP needing detailed guidance on interstitial lung disease, this toolkit is for you. 

‘We believe it has the potential to help drive up standards and level the playing field in terms of delivery of care across the patient  pathway.’ 

The toolkit is available online now at

Practice Nurse 2021;51(1): online only 26 January 2021