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Implementation of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) hubs in the community in England: a qualitative study

ARI hubs

Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) hubs have been set up in many areas across England to support prompt assessment and management of patients with acute respiratory infections (ARIs). These hubs aim to provide same-day access for patients if urgent GP appointments are unavailable and to reduce A&E attendances, especially during periods of higher pressure on the NHS (e.g., in winter with high infection rates). Patients are referred to the hubs through different sources, such as 111, GP and ambulance services. There are different ways how the hubs may work as each hub is created depending on local needs and resources.


This project aims to identify and describe how ARI hubs have been set up, how they work and how they assess and manage patients with ARIs.


Local ARI hubs offer prompt assessment and management of patients. This is important because, with more patients and fewer health professionals, prompt access to healthcare is difficult.

Local ARI hubs offer prompt assessment and management of patients. This is important because, with more patients and fewer health professionals, prompt access to healthcare is difficult. Local hubs might be especially helpful for patients with acute respiratory infections (ARIs), such as chest infections. ARIs are very common during colder seasons and add pressure on the NHS services, such as GPs and A&E. So we need to improve access to urgent care in the community for patients with ARIs and to help reduce some pressure on GPs and A&E.

In most places, ARI hubs are a new service which has been rapidly set up in different ways depending on the local context. This is a good opportunity to learn how these hubs have been set up and how they work to improve patient care. This will help us identify lessons for how to best set up and run such hubs in the future. It can also give us suggestions for how we can better manage ARIs in the community.

Overview of METHODS

This is a qualitative study which involves interviews and observations. The study has two parts.

Initially, we want to interview approx. 30 professionals from different ARI hubs. We are currently recruiting for this part of the study - please see below.

Next, we will select a small number of ARI hubs as examples (case studies). In these hubs, we will conduct some observations of how the hubs work and speak to (interview) professionals and patients. 

currently recruiting

We invite professionals who are currently working, or have recently worked, at an ARI hub in England to participate in interviews.

We want to speak to a range of professionals from different ARI hubs and in different roles (e.g., GPs, nurses and other health professionals), including those with experience in:

  • setting up and/or managing ARI hubs
  • and/or caring for patients (including those using rapid diagnostics) in ARI hubs.

Taking part in the study involves being interviewed remotely by telephone or MS Teams at a time convenient to the participant. The interview would be one-off and last about 45 minutes (up to one hour).

We offer reimbursement for participants' time.

You can read more details in the Participant Information Sheet.

If you are interested in the study, please email

Patient and public involvement

We want to work with Patient/Public Involvement (PPI) contributors throughout this study to ensure this research is relevant and important to patients. If you would like to join the PPI group as a contributor, please contact Dr Aleksandra Borek by email (