The National Clinical Directors for Respiratory Disease have identified obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) as one of the priority areas for the respiratory programme in the department for this year. As a result, a clinical lead and a project manager were appointed and are currently mapping existing services and identifying priorities for action on OSA. Working groups have been established to support this work, involving a range of experts and stakeholders, including representatives from the British Lung Foundation, British Thoracic Society, British Sleep Society, Association of Respiratory Technology and Physiology, Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, Primary Care Respiratory Society and the Sleep Apnoea Trust Association.
The national programme for physiological diagnostics continues to monitor access to investigations for OSA and other sleep-related breathing problems, and promotes best practice in service delivery.
Waiting time data are available in the public domain and was included in the NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare for People with Respiratory Disease: www.rightcare.nhs.uk/index.php/atlas/respiratorydisease.
It will also be included in the Diagnostics Atlas of Variation for England which will be published shortly. The current median waiting time for diagnostic sleep studies is 2.3 weeks.