Our NHS Services

The Birmingham regional NHS  occuptional lung disease service was established at Birmingham Chest Clinic in 1979 by Professor Sherwood Burge.  For over 35 yearsthe unit has seen- and continues to assess and manage workers and patients with a spectrum of occupational lung disease.  This includes commoner complaints that have an occupational cause, such as occupational asthma and rhinitis, emphysema and chronic bronchitis (COPD), hypersensitivity pneumonitis (extrinsic allergic alveolitis) and asbestos-related disease (such as asbestosis, pleural thickening, mesothelioma and bronchial cancer), as well as those which are less well recognized, such as silicosis, berylliosis, coal workers' pneumoconiosis,  and siderosis.  

Patient experience

We take NHS referrals from any healthcare professional or occupational health provider, where there is a suspicion of an occupational lung disease.  All patients are then seen within the NHS and no additional payment is required or sought.  Our clinic is situated at 151 Great Charles Street, Birmingham, and for our patients who attend from the West Midlands and further afield, initial consultation and testing is done in a 'one-stop' visit to the clinic, which runs every Friday. 

 

A comprehensive asessment includes an hour long consultation with an occupational lung disase specialist doctor, as well as investigations such as a chest x-ray, allergy testing, blood sampling, and respiratory physiology, depending on the nature of the patient's condition.

Respiratory physiology

Our respiratory physiology unit are able to undertake full lung function tests for workers/patients, which include:

 

  • Spirometry
  • Static lung volumes by plethysmography
  • Gas transfer measuremnts (DLCO and KCO)
  • Fractional expired nitric oxide (FENO)
  • Non-specific bronchial reactivity (methacholine challenge testing)
  • Impulse oscillmetry
  • 6-minute walk test

Serial peak expiratory flow (PEF) analysis

Serial measurements of peak expiratory flow (PEF) at home and at work are a definitive test for workers with symptoms suggestive of occupational asthma.   We supply patients with an electronic PEF meter and diary cards to record their measurements during work shifts and at home.  When these are returned they are analyzed using OASYS software to establish the presence of occupational asthma.  We are also happy to anlayze and interpret PEF diaries already performed by occupational health professionals and other clinicians. Please contact us if you wish to send readings for interpretation

Blood and allergy testing

Our clinic nurses can perform venous blood sampling, urine testing and skin prick allergy testing if required.  We can carry out the following tests for patients:

  • Routine biochemistry, haematology and microbiology
  • Urine biological exposure monitoring (eg. metals such as chromium)
  • Skin prick allergy testing to common aeroallergens and occupational allergens (eg. latex)
  • Serum specilfic IgE testing to various antigens (eg. flour, amylase, isocyanate)

Our blood allergy testing is processed at Heartlands Hospital laboratories, Heart of England NHS Trust, the City Hospital Toxicology Laboratory, Dudley Road, Birmingham, or sent to the Royal Brompton Hospital, London or Heath and Safety Laboratories (HSL), Buxton for further testing

Specific inhalation challenge (SIC) testing

For workers under investigation for occupational asthma, we are able to perform specific inhalation challenge (SIC) testing to occupational allergens in a dedicated challenge laboratory at Heartlands Hospital, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.  In recent years Dr Vicky Moore has perfomed many challenge tests on workers epxosed to agents such as:

 

  • Isocyanates
  • Baking flour and enzymes
  • Chromium and cobalt
  • Epoxy resins
  • Acrylates and methacrylates
  • Cleaning agents
  • Aldehydes
  • Latex

Visiting healthcare professionals

We regularly receive visitors to sit in on the clinic and are pleased to receive respiratory medicine registrars, occuaptional medicine trainees and other healthcare professionals working in occuptional health, to attend the specialist clinic and multi-disciplinary meeting on a Friday afternoon.  If you are a healthcare professional and wish to attend, please contact us for more details.

 

We always make our patients aware when there is a visiting healthcare professional in clinic, in order to gain consent for their presence in the consultation

If you are a health professional and wish to make a referral or a patient or worker looking oir more information about our clinic, please visit the 'refrrals' page by hitting the button below

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© Birmingham Regional NHS Occupational Lung Disease Service, UK