The respiratory team roles

1) The respiratory team roles

These are some of the respiratory team members that you may meet. However, not all teams will have access to the same members, this will depend on where you live.

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Primary care team


  • Medical history.
  • Listen to your lungs.
  • Refer for X-ray.
  • Refer for Simple breathing tests with the Practice Nurse or Healthcare assistant or Clinical Physiology GP Spirometry service if available.
  • Prescribe medication – inhalers as appropriate.
  • Communicate with Respiratory Consultant in the hospital.

Practice nurse

  • General observations.
  • Perform simple peak flow and tests such as spirometry if appropriate.
  • Reversibility study, if appropriate.
  • Inhaler technique if appropriate.

Hospital respiratory care team

Respiratory consultant

  • Medical history.
  • Listen to your lungs.
  • Review of X-ray, possible repeat.
  • Refer for further CT, MRI as appropriate.
  • Review Spirometry, possible repeat.
  • Refer of full breathing tests.
  • Refer for Specialised breathing test

Respiratory specialist nurse

  • General Observations.
  • Perform simple peak flow and/or Spirometry test.
  • Reversibility study, if appropriate.
  • Review and/or prescribe medications
  • Inhaler technique if appropriate.
  • Refer for full breathing tests.

Specialist pharmacist

  • Advice and review current medication.
  • Advice and dispense medication.
  • Advice about inhaler technique.
  • Explain what your medication is for and any side effects.

Clinical physiologist

  • Assess full lung function.
  • Assess effectiveness of inhaled treatment.
  • Assess hypersensitivity using challenge tests.
  • Report findings to Respiratory Consultant.

Respiratory physiotherapist

  • Advice on lung disease and exercise.
  • Specialist advice and treatment for abnormal breathing patterns such as hyperventilation. How to relax and retrain your breathing.
  • Helping with breathlessness management.

Occupational therapist

  • Assessment and discharge planning from hospital
  • Assessment of personal activities of daily living, transfers, mobility and practice of these skills for a safe discharge
  • Provision of equipment
  • Conserving energy to manage daily activities
  • Planning and pacing activities, and fatigue management in order to manage daily activities in the most efficient way


People with breathing problems may have increased difficulties eating and drinking and thus lose weight, putting them at an increased risk of malnutrition. A dietician’s role is to:

  • Maintain or improve body weight
  • Reduce muscle wasting
  • Meet daily recommended requirements of all nutrients
  • Offer nutritional support: Nutritional high energy and protein drinks/puddings may be provided
  • follow up after discharge to review


  • Minimize distress and disability associated with respiratory disease through psychological interventions
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation groups
  • Support patients’ adaptation to respiratory disease

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