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RespiratoryJul 5, 2024

Clinical academic physio Enya Daynes reports from the BTS's 'vibrant and exciting' summer meeting

The British Thoracic Society's (BTS) summer meeting – held at the Manchester Central Convention Complex from 20-21 June – attracted more than 800 delegates from a wide range of professional backgrounds.

This was the largest attendance figure on record for this event, and it was a vibrant and exciting conference to attend. The conference highlights surrounded the newly developed asthma guidelines, currently out to public consultation, and targeted lung health checks.

I was fortunate to chair a session on the second day titled ‘How can we take Pulmonary Rehabilitation forwards equitably?’, which created some excellent discussion on improving access to good quality rehabilitation and providing alternatives when pulmonary rehabilitation is less appropriate. Health inequalities remain a priority for healthcare providers, yet despite this we are seeing an increase in the life expectancy discrepancy, and therefore the momentum of this topic needs to be maintained.

Within pulmonary rehabilitation, Maria Buxton shared how the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Services Accreditation Scheme can support the reduction of health inequalities in pulmonary rehabilitation and reducing the postcode lottery of pulmonary rehabilitation access. Maria is based at West Hertfordshire community respiratory service under Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, which is one of the largest integrated community respiratory services in the UK and provides nine respiratory services. 

Next, Dr Nicola Roberts, an associate professor in the School of Nursing and Social Care at Edinburgh Napier University, discussed education in pulmonary rehabilitation and how we can tailor this to the needs of our patients – while paying consideration to health literacy. This, I believe, is transferable to all areas of physiotherapy, where we must ensure our education is delivered in a way that is accessible and understandable for our patient group.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock
More than 800 people flocked to Manchester Central Convention Complex for BTS event

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The third and final speaker in this session was physiotherapist Dr Róisín Cahalan, an associate professor of physiotherapy at the University of Limerick who discussed singing as a social prescription to complement pulmonary rehabilitation or to support maintenance. This project has produced great results in improving health-related quality of life issues and breathlessness, and these interventions continue to gain momentum and popularity. This session was followed by a lively and helpful discussion of sharing best practice to support the reduction of health inequalities.

I was pleased to see that physiotherapy and pulmonary rehabilitation were mentioned throughout each of these sessions, highlighting the value physiotherapists can have in respiratory care [Enya Daynes]

There were many other great sessions, including one on getting things in order in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This covered correct and early diagnosis, and exacerbations, and considered the effect of frequent exacerbations and how we can better support management.

Professor Havi Carrel, from the department of philosophy at the University of Bristol, delivered a guest lecture on breathlessness and lung transplantation, giving us insights into her personal and professional experiences of breathlessness.

Opportunities abound at BTS

In each case, I was pleased to see that physiotherapy and pulmonary rehabilitation were mentioned throughout each of these sessions, highlighting the value physiotherapists can have in respiratory care.

For the final session of the day, physiotherapy continued to be an important area, with highly specialist respiratory physiotherapist Lizzie Grillo from London presenting on breathing pattern disorder in the ‘Doctor, why am I breathless?’ session, which I propose we rename as ‘Physios, why am I breathless?’. This session also covered making a correct diagnosis, using basic tests and an excellent presentation on a patient’s perspective of living with asthma and interstitial lung disease.

In all of that, I was able to meet and catch up with colleagues around the country, which is always a great benefit of the BTS. I hope to do the same at the next meeting and encourage you all to join!

Clinical academic physiotherapist Enya Daynes is based at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. She is a member of the BTS Pulmonary Rehabilitation Specialist Advisory Group.

Clinically, Enya is a specialist physiotherapist in pulmonary rehabilitation, and lead for the long Covid rehabilitation service. Her research explores the non-medical management of breathlessness, and she has recently led on a multicentre Covid rehabilitation trial.

To find out about current opportunities to get involved at BTS, click 

Author: Enya Daynes
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