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Harefield respiratory consultant to collaborate in Kings College London study

Breathlessness study

6 February 2017

Harefield Hospital consultant Dr William Man will collaborate on a new study led by Dr Matthew Maddocks, a lecturer and senior physiotherapist at Kings College London (KCL). 

The research, funded by the NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research programme, will be a comprehensive review of holistic breathlessness services for people with advanced malignant and non-malignant conditions.

Over two million people in the UK suffer from shortness of breath. A person who suffers from this condition may have an attack unexpectedly, even when they are at rest. It is frightening for patients and families, and results in reduced life expectancy and high NHS costs. 

In many patients with chronic lung or heart diseases, there are few effective therapies to reverse the condition, so services focus on symptoms. A holistic breathlessness services offer patients a range of treatments, including: 

  • physiotherapy
  • occupational therapy
  • respiratory medicine
  • rehabilitation
  • palliative care.


Patients can also learn techniques to help them manage their own symptoms and feel more in control.  

The review will assess a number of aspects, such as: 

  • the accessibility of holistic breathlessness services 
  • whether and to what extent these services improve patients’ quality of life 
  • cost-effectiveness 
  • clinical benefits 
  • effectiveness of services provided at home compared with those provided in a community practice. 


Dr Man commented: “This study will benefit both patients and the NHS by supporting evidence-based decisions on holistic breathlessness services. These require close collaboration between palliative care and respiratory specialists as well as the support of allied health professionals. 

“If these services are effective, they could benefit the large and growing number of people with chronic breathlessness, which would in turn reduce demand on NHS services, particularly admissions via A&E.”