New equipment has been supplied to GP’s surgeries in an attempt to reduce hospital admissions.

West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG) which buys and plans healthcare for Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford, has installed pO2 monitors in all 38 of its GP’s surgeries.

The hand-held devices help in assessing breathing and respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchiolitis in young children and babies.

A WECCG spokeswoman said: “Every year children are taken to Accident and Emergency Departments by worried parents, who often travel large distances to reach their nearest department.

“Recognising the stress and disruption this causes, WECCG is working with local hospital and community clinicians to improve children’s services, by enabling children to be treated and monitored in the community.”

The equipment cost £650 to install at each surgery while each admission to hospital for bronchiolitis costs approximately £1,300.

The equipment can also be used for the diagnosis of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and heart failure in adults.

The move is estimated to reduce children’s hospital admissions by 40 per year in addition to any reduction as a result of treating adults.