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Respiratory physicians have considerable technical skill and have expertise in cardiopulmonary physiology and run lung function laboratories in most hospitals for the interpretation of complex lung function testing, a cornerstone of respiratory diagnosis.
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Respiratory Medicine is one of the two major specialties of acute General Internal Medicine (GIM). Approximately 30% of all acute admissions in GIM are for a primary respiratory problem – similar figures to Cardiology – and Respiratory Physicians are essential and major contributors to the acute medical take in all acute hospital trusts. Respiratory Medicine has a close relationship with Critical Care Medicine.

Most Respiratory Physicians supervise non-invasive ventilation in the support of patients with acute respiratory failure in the High Dependency Unit environment, and many have sessions helping to run Intensive Care services and expertise in the management of the Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Respiratory Physicians have considerable technical skills. They undertake bronchoscopy (both diagnostic and, increasingly, interventional), pleural procedures (including pleural biopsy and chest drain insertion), medical thorascopy for the more invasive investigation of pleural effusion and non-invasive ventilation. They have considerable expertise in cardiopulmonary physiology and run lung function laboratories in most hospitals for the interpretation of complex lung function testing, a cornerstone of respiratory diagnosis.

In the outpatient setting, Respiratory Physicians run the services for lung cancer and tuberculosis in most Trusts. They are referred patients with a vast range of pulmonary and non-pulmonary conditions, the latter since the lung is involved in many non-pulmonary systemic conditions. A large percentage of their outpatient work involves the investigation, diagnosis and management of patients referred with the non-specific complaints of chest pain, cough and breathlessness of unknown cause such that most Respiratory Physicians have considerable expertise in dealing with diagnostic uncertainty. For this reason, they are often a port of call for other medical practitioners when there are other more general non-specific symptoms for which a diagnostic explanation is elusive.

They also run early discharge, hospital at home and pulmonary rehabilitation services for COPD and have considerable skill in the management of terminally ill patients. Some Respiratory Physicians run services for lung transplantation. Among specific disease areas that are the principal remit of Respiratory Physicians are a vast array of inherited (e.g. Cystic Fibrosis), congenital, infective (e.g. pneumonia, empyema, opportunist infection including transplant and HIV -related disorders, bronchiectasis, TB), inflammatory (e.g. eosinophilic lung disease, vasculitis, interstitial lung disease), vascular (e.g. pulmonary embolism, primary pulmonary hypertension), malignant (e.g. lung cancer, mesothelioma, mediastinal tumours), allergic, sleep-related, neuromuscular, and airway (asthma, COPD, obliterative bronchiolitis) diseases.

Education and Clinical Teams

Dr Ben Mearns


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Dr Ben Mearns who joined SASH in 2007, is a consultant in acute medicine and a geriatrician. He is chief of medicine and responsible for leading the extensive number of services within the medicine division; ranging from the emergency department (A&E) and cardiology to therapies and pharmacy.

He is passionate about patient engagement and the delivery of safe high quality care. He values the opportunity to hear from the people we care for and to ensure that their views are heard. He is a strong advocate of patient involvement in continuing to develop and improve the services we provide.

Dr Mearns is a member of the SASH executive committee and an active member of the transformation guiding team. He is also a senior associate at the Nuffield Trust.

Dr Kofi Nimako

Clinical Lead

Dr Ben Field

College Tutor

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Dr Ben Field was appointed consultant in diabetes, endocrinology and general medicine at SaSH in March 2012. He is responsible for inpatients on Bletchingley and Hazelwood wards and holds outpatient clinics at East Surrey Hospital and Crawley Hospital. He is the Trust’s RCP tutor for medicine.

He gained a first class BMedSci before graduating in medicine with distinction from St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, in 1997. After specialist training at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ hospitals, he joined Imperial College London as an MRC clinical research training fellow, obtaining a PhD in 2009 for research into the neuroendocrine control of appetite, energy expenditure and insulin secretion. He is actively involved in research at SaSH and Imperial College, and is an honorary clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London.

His interests encompass all aspects of diabetes and endocrinology, including structured education in type 1 diabetes mellitus, intensification of insulin treatment, insulin pump therapy, complex type 2 diabetes mellitus, diabetic foot disease, PCOS, pituitary diseases, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal gland disorders.

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Dr Devikumar Acharya

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Dr Simon Bax

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Dr Deepak Jayaram

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Dr Kofi Nimako

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Dr Michael Wilde

Wards Covered

  • Tilgate and Tilgate Annexe

Education Campus Reception

01737 231722

SASH Education Campus
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Trust Headquarters
East Surrey Hospital

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