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Capital & Coast DHB Respiratory Service

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Description

The Respiratory Department 
We are located in the Clinical Measurement Unit (CMU). Please click here for a map of the CMU.

Respiratory services provided by the Department consist of outpatient clinics, a day stay unit and inpatient (ward) care. Outpatient clinics are held at Wellington and Kenepuru Hospitals. The Pulmonary Function Laboratory provides breathing testing for people referred in from family doctors and other specialists, as well as those people being seen in respiratory clinics. 

The Sleep Disorders service and Immunology/Allergy are also based in this Department.

The Department is staffed by respiratory physicians (doctors who specialise in treating conditions of the lungs), specially trained nurses, technicians, and registrars (doctors training to be specialists), and the clerical staff who organise appointments.

What is Respiratory Medicine?
Respiratory medicine is the branch of medicine that treats people with diseases affecting the lungs and breathing.

Common symptoms of lung disease include: shortness of breath, wheezing, long-term cough, coughing up blood, and having chest pains. A lot of different conditions are seen in the Department for instance asthma, COPD, fibrosis of the lungs, lung cancer, pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs), lung disease caused by work, and numerous uncommon disorders.

Sleep Medicine
A lot of problems are included in this - from difficulty getting to sleep to excess sleepiness in the daytime. A lot of sleep problems are caused by disordered breathing during sleep, and many of our referrals are of this sort. The Department works closely with the University of Otago Sleep Laboratory (WellSleep) in sorting out these problems.

What is Immunology?
Immunology is the branch of medicine that is concerned with the study of the structure, function and disorders of the immune system. The immune system is a complex system of organs and cells that recognises foreign material, e.g. bacteria and viruses, in our bodies and builds a defence against them.

Immunology includes: the use of vaccines to protect against diseases, the role of the immune system in non-infectious diseases such as cancer,  the damage that can be done to the body’s own tissues by the immune system (autoimmunity), and allergy.

A doctor who specialises in the prevention, diagnosis and management of immune system disorders is called an immunologist.

Consultants

Hours

Monday to Friday: 8am - 4.30pm
Office closed 12noon - 1pm

Referral Expectations

Outpatient Clinics and Procedures
Your GP will refer you to one of our clinics if they are concerned about your lungs or breathing or other problem usually dealt with by us. The referral letter is looked at by one of our doctors for the degree of urgency. Depending on urgency, waiting times can be a week to 6 months. 

You may be sent a questionnaire before your clinic visit to help us decide urgency or to decide if any tests need to be done before you come to the appointment.

You need to bring to your appointment:

  1. any letters or reports from your doctor or another hospital
  2. any X-rays, CT (computer tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) films and reports that you have at home.
  3. all medicines you are currently taking, including herbal and natural remedies; or a written list of all these.
  4. your pharmaceutical entitlement card.

When you have been seen, the clinic doctor will discuss with you what is wrong, what tests might be needed to find out what is wrong, and what treatments are possible. A letter about all this will be sent to your GP.

Sometimes, it may be clear from the family doctor or other hospital referral that a certain test or procedure is going to be needed. We may then call the person in directly for that test instead of into a clinic.

If you have any change in your condition before you come to your appointment, please see your GP immediately.

Common Conditions / Procedures / Treatments

  • Asthma



    Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest and trouble breathing.… More

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

    COPD includes conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma.… More

  • Lung Cancer


    When abnormal malignant cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled fashion in the lung tissue, a cancer results.… More PDF

  • Lung Function Tests

    You may be advised to take lung function tests to find out how much air moves in and out as you breathe.… More

  • Bronchoscopy



    During this test, a thin flexible tube with a camera at the tip is passed through the nose and windpipe to view the air passages in the lungs. Usually we give an injection of a sedative medication first and put local anaesthetic in the nose and throat (local anaesthetic gel… More

  • Spirometers



    Spirometry is a test which measures the speed at which your lungs can be filled and emptied of air.  It can be used to diagnose problems of breathing and monitor the usefulness of treatment.… More

  • Peak Flow Meter

    This is a small hand-held device that can measure what is happening in your lungs.  You measure your peak flow by blowing  as hard and fast as possible into the meter, and is particularly useful in measuring how well your asthma is controlled.  You will be shown how to use… More

  • Blood Gas Tests

    A small amount of blood is taken from an artery in your wrist and measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.… More

  • Chest X-ray

    A chest X-ray takes a picture of your lungs and heart and chest wall.… More

  • Computer Tomography (CT) Scan

    A CT scan can see much more detail than with a normal X-ray.… More

  • Fine Needle Aspirate

    A sample of a lung lesion can be obtained by putting a thin needle through the chest wall into the lesion.… More

  • Skin Allergy Testing

    It sometimes helps to know whether a person has allergies to common things breathed in and sometimes to food products.… More

  • Immunotherapy

    It is sometimes possible to treat troublesome allergies with a series of injections of small doses of the thing you are allergic to.… More

  • Sleep Studies

    When you are seen in the Sleep Clinic, careful questioning about your symptoms is the most useful thing.… More PDF

  • Useful Information Links

    The following are very good general information sites for respiratory diseases and problems… More

  • Bronchial Challenge (Provocation) Tests

    This is a group of tests we do to see whether a person's lung air passages (the bronchi) are more sensitive than is normal.… More

Charges

If you are eligible for funded health care, then in most instances the services provided by the Respiratory Department will be at no charge. However, we have to charge for some breathing tests that are not done for clinical reasons (i.e. to sort out a health disorder).

Examples are: deciding on suitability of occupations (e.g. a person with past asthma applying for the armed forces) or the safety of a recreational activity (e.g. an asthma sufferer wanting to dive). If you are coming to the Lab for reasons like the above, please ask the staff first whether there is to be a charge and how much.

Click here to view Eligibility criteria for funded healthcare

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For information about visiting hours, refreshments, public transport, parking, accommodation, pharmacy, security, charges etc at Wellington Hospital please click on the link Wellington Hospital.

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Contact Details

Please call this number if you wish to enquire about an appointment

Respiratory Medicine Dept
Clinical Measurement Unit
Wellington Regional Hospital
Riddiford Street
Newtown
Wellington 6021

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Street Address

Respiratory Medicine Dept
Clinical Measurement Unit
Wellington Regional Hospital
Riddiford Street
Newtown
Wellington 6021

Postal Address

Wellington Hospital
Private Bag 7902
Wellington South

This page was last updated at 11:49AM on December 7, 2015. This information is reviewed and edited by Capital & Coast DHB Respiratory Service.