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Friday 28th October 2016

Air conditioning on prescription

6th March 2007

This summer GPs will be able to prescribe free air conditioning units to patients who need help with their breathing.


Mobile units worth around £500 will be used for those with serious lung disorders such as those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which kills around 30,000 people a year and becomes more deadly during hot weather.

It is one of a range of new preventative measures which are now available on prescription. Other treatments include anger management courses to prevent violence or self-harm among young people and swimming lessons for the obese.

The aim is to invest in healthcare which will save the NHS money in the long term by reducing ill health. But the announcement is expected to cause a backlash as the cash-strapped NHS faces cuts.

The government believe the measures make good financial sense as those with COPD can find themselves admitted to hospital during hot weather. The hope is to avoid these costly hospital stays by providing those at risk with AC units.

GPs will be able to prescribe the units where there is a demonstrable clinical need, using their practice-based commissioning budget.

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