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Northland DHB Respiratory

Public Service


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. 

The Respiratory Department
Respiratory services provided by the Department consist of outpatient clinics, a surgical assessment unit and inpatient (ward) care.

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

Specialist Staff
 Name  Role
Alma Quirey Clinical Nurse Specialist - Lung Cancer

Stephanie Fox, Jesse Ginn, Dianne McLeod,
Felicity Rankin, Sue Cooper, Matt Teves

Clinical Nurse Specialists - Medical Outreach
Catherine Corble Clinical Lead Physiologist Sleep/Respiratory
Gavin Starling Clinical Sleep Physiologist
Scott Hay Clinical Respiratory/Sleep Physiologist


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 and want a specialist opinion.  The referral is prioritised depending on urgency, with waiting times of 2 weeks to 6 months. 
Recommendations and options regarding your diagnosis and treatment plan will be discussed with you and a letter will be sent to your GP.

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
3. all medicines you are currently taking, including herbal and natural remedies
4. your pharmaceutical entitlement card.

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)

    This term is used to describe lung disease where the breathing tubes become blocked and the surrounding tissue and air sacs inside the lungs become damaged.… More

  • How to Best Manage Your COPD

    1. It is vital that you don’t smoke and others don’t smoke around you.… More

  • Free Flu Vaccination

    Having the annual flu vaccine is very important if you have lung or breathing problems such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).… More

  • Free Home Insulation

    If you have serious lung problems having a “healthy“ home is very important to keep you well.… More

  • Lung Cancer

    This is when abnormal malignant cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled fashion in the lung tissue.… More

  • 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

  • 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 tube that can measure what is happening in your breathing tubes.  You can have one at home and measure your peak flow by blowing into it as hard and fast as possible.  You will be shown how to measure it and compare it with what… More

  • Blood Gas Tests

    This is similar to a blood test but instead of a needle going into a vein it is inserted briefly into a small artery in your wrist.  A small amount of blood is taken and sent to the laboratory for information about the oxygenation of your blood and other gases.… More

  • Chest X-ray

    A chest X-ray is normally undertaken to check the chest wall, lungs and heart.… More

  • Computer Tomography (CT) Scan

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

  • Fine Needle Aspirate

    Depending on what is seen on the CT scan an additional test can be done where a fine needle is inserted into your chest into the cancer and some cells sucked up into the needle.  This is done while taking pictures with the CT scanner to guide the doctor as… More

  • Bronchoscopy

    During this test a thin fibreoptic tube is inserted into your breathing tubes, through the nose, to view the tubes and take a biopsy (remove cells or tissue) to see if there are cancer cells present.… More

  • Sleep Problems

    This service mainly focuses on the investigation and management of severe daytime sleepiness, also known as Sleep Apnoea.… More

Document Downloads

  • Patient Sleep Questionnaire (DOC, 77 KB)
    Click on the above link to download the questionnaire you need to fill out prior to having a sleep study at the hospital.

Contact Details

Whangarei Hospital


Fax (09) 430 4115 during working hours; (09) 430 4132 after hours

Emergency Department: Open 24 hours / 7 days, Phone (09) 430 4100

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Whangarei Hospital
2 Hospital Road

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Street Address

Whangarei Hospital
2 Hospital Road

Postal Address

Whangarei Hospital
Private Bag 9742
Whangarei 0148

This page was last updated at 12:31PM on October 1, 2018. This information is reviewed and edited by Northland DHB Respiratory.