Service overview - Respiratory medicine services

Our respiratory medicine department, diagnose and treat conditions affecting the respiratory (breathing) system, ie the nose, throat (pharynx), larynx, the windpipe (trachea), the lungs and the diaphragm.

Our clinical teams work closely with colleagues in the hospital’s intensive care units (ICU), providing advice; since so many acute conditions involve respiratory problems.

Assessing patients in outpatients’ clinics is also an important part of the work.  There are two types of clinic: general respiratory clinics and specialist clinics. Patients with asthma and conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are treated in the general clinics. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive airways disease.

Video appointments

Many of our services offer video calls as a more convenient way of having an appointment with one of our healthcare professionals. This reduces the need for you to attend the hospital physically.

If you have an appointment letter with a video appointment link and instructions, please read more on our Video appointments page.

Respiratory medicine at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC)

The respiratory department at Basildon University Hospital is at the forefront of many pioneering procedures to make sure that you get the best possible care.

The department has many sub-specialty areas including:

  • Non invasive ventilation (NIV) service
  • Pleural disease (access to ward-based ultrasound machine)
  • Medical thoracoscopy
  • Oxygen clinics and oxygen assessment services
  • Pulmonary Physiology
  • Sleep and ventilation medicine
  • Endobronchial ultrasound transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA)
  • Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Lung cancer including specialist palliative care
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)

People who need inpatient care for a respiratory condition will receive this on Florence Nightingale ward or Marjorie Warren ward.

To find out more about the specialist services held in the CTC centre, visit Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC).

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Medical thoracoscopy

Medical thoracoscopy is an investigative test when a patient has plural effusion - which is when excess fluid accumulates between the two pleural layers, the fluid-filled space that surrounds the lungs.

The procedure involves draining any pleural fluid which is then tested. Patients require a chest drain and a short admission until the affected lung has fully re-expanded.

Patients will be sedated and have a local anaesthetic whilst going through this procedure.

An alternative test is a video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) which will take place at The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC) at Basildon by their specialist surgeons there.

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Oxygen clinic and oxygen assessment service

Oxygen is prescribed to around 85,000 patients in England for a range of conditions. It’s important that the prescription is correct and appropriate for the individuals receiving this therapy.

If you need oxygen then our staff will make sure that you are medically fit to use it and inform your family, so they are aware of the treatment, equipment, expectations, and responsibilities. This is in addition to the home safety assessment reviews. You will also be given written guidelines along with a personal record of results and plan for therapy.

You will have a choice of three locations to attend clinics:

  • Orsett Hospital
  • Brentwood Community Hospital
  • Basildon University Hospital
  • All patients have access to telephone support.

The team work closely with community teams and other local services (e.g. smoking cessation) and will refer you as appropriate.

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Pulmonary physiology department (Basildon)

The department offers its service to all patients with lung and cardiac problems.

We test adults and some paediatric patients who are inpatients and referred as outpatients. These patients are referred from a variety of specialities such as rheumatology, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, general surgery, renal, respiratory, vascular, upper GI and directly from GP practices.

We carry out a wide range of diagnostic tests to assess lungs function, cardio-respiratory function and muscle strength. These tests also evaluate responsiveness to treatment. The specialised tests and investigations include:

  • Spirometry
  • Lung volumes (helium dilution/body plethysmography)
  • Gas diffusion
  • Bronchodilator response
  • Pulse oximetry
  • Airway resistance
  • Cardiopulmonary Exercise Tests (CPET)
  • Bronchial and exercise provocation tests
  • Respiratory muscle strength
  • Fitness to fly assessments
  • Arterial/capillary ear lobe blood gases
  • Six-minute walk test.

These tests are used by clinicians to help diagnose lung diseases and measure the extent of damage caused by the lung conditions. They are also used to assess the effect of medication and to measure the progress in the treatment of disease.

Contact us

If you would like to know more, call 01268 524900 using extension 4033 during 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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Sleep and ventilation medicine (Basildon and Southend)

The sleep and ventilation medicine service provides rapid diagnosis of various sleep problems and help to identify the most appropriate treatment.

The service provides expertise in the diagnosis and management of ventilatory disorders during sleep, including:

  • obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome
  • sleep disordered breathing
  • hypoventilation syndromes
  • assessment of respiratory failure secondary to a variety of conditions.

We offer a full range of diagnostics and treatment options including:

  • Inpatient sleep studies (partial polysomnography)
  • Home sleep studies (partial polysomnography)
  • Full inpatient polysomnography (from June 2014)
  • Individual and group treatment
  • Assessment for nocturnal oxygen
  • Blood gas analysis
  • Non-Invasive ventilation (CPAP and)
  • Non-Invasive ventilation (BiPAP)
  • Lifestyle advice and health education.

Patients with confirmed obstructive sleep apnoea are offered CPAP treatment, as appropriate, and are supported by our clinical team, qualified physiologists and senior nurses.

The service is for patients who suffer with excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, morning headaches, restless legs, non-restorative sleep and awakening gasping for breath.

We also treat patients with chronic respiratory failure secondary to COPD on home non-invasive ventilation.

Patients with chronic respiratory failure (COPD or motor neurone disease) will be treated with home ventilation from the department.

Our sleep apnoea service based at Southend is one of the largest in the UK and we have a 'hospital at home' scheme for our COPD patients.

Contact us

If you want to know more, call:

Basildon - on 01268 524900 using extension 4033.

Southend - on 01702 435555 using extension 6091 or 5031.

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Endobronchial ultrasound transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA)

Endobronchial ultrasound transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS TBNA) is a minimally invasive procedure that allows us to obtain tissue from within the lung or mediastinal lymph nodes in the chest.

It uses as a special needle with a suction syringe tailor-made for this procedure.

The technique of EBUS-TBNA is safe, reduces the need to stay in hospital, and is very sensitive to detect malignant lymph nodes.

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We provide a comprehensive asthma service, working closely with primary care.

Patients with difficult asthma are seen regularly.

All inpatients admitted with asthma exacerbations are identified by the respiratory team and each patient is reviewed by a senior member of the respiratory team before being discharged home.

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

We care for a large number of patients with COPD in conjunction with our primary care colleagues and the Community COPD team.

All COPD patients are reviewed by a respiratory nurse and a dedicated respiratory consultant. A management plan is provided to the patient prior to the patient’s discharge and appropriate follow up arranged.

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Interstitial lung disease

Interstitial lung disease (ILD), also known as diffuse parenchymal lung disease (DPLD) describes several diseases that affect the interstitium and are less common respiratory conditions. There are different types of ILD including:

  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
  • Nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis (NSIP)
  • Acute interstitial pneumonitis (AIP)
  • Cryptogenic organizing pneumonia or bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP)
  • Desquamative interstitial pneumonia (DIP)
  • Lymphocytic interstitial pneumonia (LIP)
  • Respiratory bronchiolitis interstitial lung disease (RBILD).

Patients with this group of illnesses are usually referred to the respiratory physicians for the condition to be diagnosed and managed.

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FADS is a support group run by medical professional and volunteers and is dedicated to providing support and reassurance to people with implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs).

The group is run by two dedicated cardiac physiologists and meets every four months.

Each meeting covers a different topic relating to ICDs and guest speakers may also appear.

Please speak to your consultant if you would like to know more.

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PACERS is a support group run by medical professional and volunteers and is dedicated to providing support and reassurance to people with pacemakers.

The group is run by two dedicated cardiac physiologists and meets every four months.

Each meeting covers a different topic relating to ICDs and guest speakers may also appear.

Please speak to your consultant if you would like to know more or call the ICD follow-up clinic on 01702 385503.

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