Thoracic Medicine

Thoracic medicine, also known as Chest Medicine or Respiratory Medicine, is a speciality of medicine which deals with investigation and treatment of diseases of the lungs.

City Hospitals’ Thoracic Medicine Department is staffed by medical and nurse specialists with a dedicated outpatient area and a ward to provide emergency and non-urgent care for patients with all respiratory diseases. Care is provided on a multidisciplinary model with well-established links to the Regional Thoracic Unit at Freeman Hospital and the Northern Centre for Cancer Therapy facilitated by a visiting Thoracic Surgeon and both Medical and Clinical oncologists.



Specialist facilities exist for the investigation and  treatment of patients with allergic and non-allergic asthma with facilities for allergy testing and assessment of bronchial irritability.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a term that covers diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis and chronic asthma. Facilities exist for accurate diagnosis and investigation that may include high resolution CT chest scanning, detailed lung function testing and where appropriate, the provision of nebulised bronchodilator and oxygen therapy. Correct diagnosis and differentiation from other respiratory diseases is essential to modern management with evidence-based treatment. Patients with acute respiratory failure are managed on the respiratory ward with access to non invasive ventilatory support and access to intensive care where appropriate.


Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is particularly common in the Sunderland and patients are looked after by a well established multidisciplinary team led by Dr Howell Clague and supported by the three other respiratory physicians, specialist radiologists and pathologists, a thoracic surgeon, both a medical and clinical oncologist, Macmillan lung cancer nurses, a general palliative care nurse and a coordinator. Every aspect of each case is discussed at the weekly MDT meeting to ensure best practice consensus management with access to modern evidence based treatment. Sunderland contributes to the national lung cancer audit of outcomes. All patients with a suspected diagnosis of cancer are seen within two weeks of referral and the national targets for diagnosis and treatment pathways are strongly adhered to.

Asthma – Easy Read Leaflet

Sleep Medicine

Strong links with ENT surgeons ensure that patients with snoring, daytime somnolence and sleep disruption are thoroughly investigated for obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. Patients with the condition are offered nasal continuos positive airway pressure (CPAP) and patients with snoring alone are offered practical advice on how to reduce the disruption to family that snoring may cause.


Interstitial Lung Diseases

The department has extensive experience of patients with this group of diseases that can arise as a disease with no known cause or as part of a generalised condition such as rheumatoid disease. Cases are discussed at the weekly radiology meeting prior to decisions about the need for lung biopsy or the start of specialist treatment.



Clinical Director
Dr John Painter – 0191 565 6256 ext 41444

Directorate Manager
Jackie Burlison – 0191 565 6256 ext 47445

Chest Clinic Reception – 0191 5656256 ext 49102



The Chest Clinic is located in the Chester Wing Out Patient Department at Sunderland Royal Hospital.



Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
British Lung Foundation
Macmillan Cancer Support
Mesothelioma International
Asthma UK