Thoracic Medicine

Thoracic Medicine (sometimes known as Chest Medicine or Respiratory Medicine) is concerned with the study and treatment of diseases of the lungs and the surrounding organs in the chest, excluding the heart which is included in the speciality of Cardiology.

The Thoracic Medicine Department at Weston General Hospital has the expertise and facilities to investigate, diagnose and treat nearly all of the common thoracic diseases, including: Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Pneumonia and other lung infections, Tuberculosis, Lung Cancer and other lung tumours, Pleural Diseases including pleural effusion and pleural tumours, Sarcoidosis, Asbestos Related Diseases, Pneumoconiosis, Lung Fibrosis, Alveolitis, Unexplained Cough and Unexplained Shortness of Breath.

Patients with suspected Sleep Apnoea Syndrome have an initial assessment at Weston General Hospital and are then referred to the Bristol Sleep Unit if further tests or treatment are required.

A very small number of patients who have rare diseases or require highly specialised treatment are referred to regional centres in the South of England.


Outpatient Clinic Arrangements

Outpatient Clinics are held in the general outpatient department at Weston and at Burnham on sea hospital. Appointments are only given on referral from a GP or other doctor.


Diagnostic Facilities

Weston General Hospital has access to the facilities to investigate and diagnose all common lung conditions.

Lung function tests including overnight oximetry and oxygen assessments are carried out in Weston.

X-ray, CT  and MRI scans are carried out in Weston.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scanning) is carried out in Cheltenham for highly selected cases.

CT-guided lung biopsy is carried out in Weston, usually by Consultant Radiologist DR C COOK.



Weston General Hospital has the facilities to treat most thoracic conditions, though occasionally patients with rare conditions are referred to Regional Centres in the South of England.


THORACIC SURGERY is carried out in the Regional Centre at Bristol Royal Infirmary, both open surgery and keyhole surgery (Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery or VATS).

The Consultant Surgeons are: MR G CASALI, MR T BATCHELOR and MR F COLLINS. There are close links between the Department of Thoracic Medicine and the Department of Thoracic Surgery.

One of the Thoracic Surgeons visits Weston twice a month, on Tuesday morning, attending a multidisciplinary meeting to discuss all new surgical cases and then holding an Outpatient clinic alongside the Thoracic Medicine clinic.


RADIOTHERAPY is carried out at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC). Patients who may require radiotherapy are referred to DR M J TOMLINSON who is based in Weston and holds Outpatient clinics in Weston but also reviews her patients when they are being treated in BHOC.


CHEMOTHERAPY is carried out in the Oncology Unit in Weston, usually as an outpatient or day-patient procedure. Patients who may require chemotherapy are referred to: DR A WALTHER, who holds Weston clinics on Tuesday, DR M J TOMLINSON, who holds Weston clinics on Monday and Tuesday, or DR C G PRICE who holds Weston clinics on Monday.


PALLIATIVE CARE is provided for patients in hospital, at home or in Weston Hospice by a team led by DR J ABEL and DR A RICH, supported by other doctors and Specialist Nurses.


FOLLOW-UP for patients who have received any of the above treatments is normally carried out at Weston General Hospital, but for those who are too unwell to travel to the hospital it is usually possible to arrange home visits, carried out by one of the Specialist Nurses or Consultants.


Support to stop smoking

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