CHILDREN and young people with cystic fibrosis are now able to have their condition monitored at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Oxford Hospitals Charity has bought 120 specialist monitors with the help of funding from NHS Charities Together.

Children with cystic fibrosis normally need regular appointments in hospital to measure their lung function, but this equipment means they can now have the tests done at home rather than having to come to a clinic.

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Dr Jeremy Hull, Oxford Children's Hospitals' cystic fibrosis director, said: "A fall in lung function, even if it is quite small, can indicate the presence of infection that needs to be treated; it’s an early warning that something serious is happening."

He said the team asked the charity to help at the beginning of the lockdown and have now been sent to patients in Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties.

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Dr Jeremy Hull. Picture: Oxford Hospitals Charity

He added: "The families we work with are really relieved to have the monitors and they are already giving good results, which means our patients and their parents are being reassured very quickly, without having to come in to hospitals."

The doctor said it was 'fantastic' to be able to remove the anxiety and still get an objective and clear measurement of the lung function.

Joseph Lomax, from Wootton in Northampton, is already using the equipment from his home.

The16-year-old said: "I’ve not been well for a while and I’m currently on a course of IV antibiotics so I was really pleased when the lung function machine that the charity has funded arrived. Having cystic fibrosis I am considered extremely vulnerable by the government during this Covid-19 pandemic."

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He said normally he attends 'countless' hospital appointments with the specialist cystic fibrosis teams at the John Radcliffe, as well as his local hospital in Northampton.

Douglas Graham, chief executive of Oxford Hospitals Charity said: "We were delighted to have the support of NHS Charities Together, to be able to react so quickly and provide this support for so many young people with cystic fibrosis, like Joseph.

"It is very good to hear how reassuring it is for families to have this equipment with them at home."