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Northland DHB Respiratory

Public Service, Respiratory


What is Respiratory Medicine?
Respiratory medicine is the branch of medicine that treats people with diseases affecting the lungs and breathing.

Common symptoms of lung disease include: shortness of breath, wheezing, long-term cough, coughing up blood, and having chest pains.  A lot of different conditions are seen in the Department for instance asthma, COPD, fibrosis of the lungs, lung cancer, pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs), lung disease caused by work, and numerous uncommon disorders. 

The Respiratory Department
Respiratory services provided by the Department consist of outpatient clinics, a surgical assessment unit and inpatient (ward) care.

The Department is staffed by respiratory physicians (doctors who specialise in treating conditions of the lungs), specially trained nurses, technicians, physiotherapists, and registrars (doctors training to be specialists).

Referral Expectations

Outpatient Clinics and Procedures
Your GP will refer you to one of our clinics if they are concerned about your lungs or breathing and want a specialist opinion.  The referral is prioritised depending on urgency, with waiting times of 2 weeks to 6 months. 

Recommendations and options regarding your diagnosis and treatment plan will be discussed with you and a letter will be sent to your GP.

You need to bring to your appointment:

  1. Any letters or reports from your doctor or another hospital
  2. Any X-rays, CT (computer tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) films and reports
  3. All medicines you are currently taking, including herbal and natural remedies
  4. Your pharmaceutical entitlement card.

If you have any change in your condition before you come to your appointment, please see your GP immediately.

Common Conditions / Procedures / Treatments

  • Asthma


  • Blood Gas Tests

    This is similar to a blood test but instead of a needle going into a vein it is inserted briefly into a small artery in your wrist.  A small amount of blood is taken and sent to the laboratory for information about the oxygenation of your blood and other gases.… More

  • Bronchoscopy

    During this test a thin fibreoptic tube is inserted into your breathing tubes, through the nose, to view the tubes and take a biopsy (remove cells or tissue) to see if there are cancer cells present.… More

  • Chest X-ray

    A chest X-ray is normally undertaken to check the chest wall, lungs and heart.… More

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) More

  • Computer Tomography (CT) Scan

    Computer Tomography (CT) Scan  More

  • Fine Needle Aspirate

    Depending on what is seen on the CT scan an additional test can be done where a fine needle is inserted into your chest into the cancer and some cells sucked up into the needle.  This is done while taking pictures with the CT scanner to guide the doctor as… More

  • Lung Cancer

    Lung Cancer More

  • Lung Function Tests

    You may be advised to take lung function tests to find out how much air moves in and out as you breathe.… More

  • Peak Flow Meter

    Peak Flow Meter More

  • Sleep Problems

    Sleep Problems More

  • Spirometers

    Spirometry is a test which measures the speed at which your lungs can be filled and emptied of air.  It can be used to diagnose problems of breathing and monitor the usefulness of treatment.… More

Document Downloads

  • Patient Sleep Questionnaire (DOC, 77 KB)
    Click on the above link to download the questionnaire you need to fill out prior to having a sleep study at the hospital.

Contact Details

Whangarei Hospital
2 Hospital Road

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Street Address

Whangārei Hospital
2 Hospital Road

Postal Address

Whangārei Hospital
Private Bag 9742
Whangārei 0148

This page was last updated at 9:42AM on December 17, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Northland DHB Respiratory.