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Southern DHB Respiratory Services

Public Service, Respiratory


The Southern DHB (SDHB) Respiratory Specialist Service is a district wide service primarily delivered from Dunedin and Southland hospitals. Acute and inpatient respiratory services are provided by the respiratory teams at Dunedin Hospital, whereas patients with acute respiratory conditions admitted elsewhere within the Southern region are managed by General Medicine services.

The service provides a broad range of diagnostic and interventional procedures. Diagnostic testing is undertaken by the respiratory and sleep laboratories at Dunedin and Southland hospitals. The department also manages a domiciliary oxygen service under specifications set by the Ministry of Health.

Outpatient clinics are delivered at Dunedin, Southland, Lakes/Queenstown and Dunstan hospitals.

What is Respiratory Medicine?
See https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/ for information on respiratory conditions and treatments.


The Respiratory Department
Respiratory services provided by the Dunedin Hospital department consist of outpatient clinics, a day stay unit and inpatient (ward) care. At Southland Hospital Respiratory Services support the acute inpatient service and run outpatient clinics. Outlying hospitals including Ōamaru, Balclutha, Dunstan, Gore and Lakes/Queenstown are supported by the service, including the regional oxygen service and sleep service.

The department is staffed by respiratory physicians (doctors who specialise in treating conditions of the lungs), specially trained nurses, physiologists, physiotherapists, and registrars (doctors training to be specialists). There are Pulmonary Rehabilitation programmes in Dunedin and Invercargill and other similar programmes and initiatives elsewhere in the region are supported.


Referral Expectations

Outpatient Clinics

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. 

Procedures / Treatments / Common Conditions

  • Asthma

    Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest and trouble breathing.… More

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

    This term is used to describe lung disease where the breathing tubes become blocked and the surrounding tissue and air sacs inside the lungs become damaged.… More

  • Lung Cancer

    This is when abnormal malignant cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled fashion in the lung tissue.… 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

  • 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

  • Peak Flow Meter

    This is a small hand-held tube that can measure what is happening in your breathing tubes.  You can have one at home and measure your peak flow by blowing into it as hard and fast as possible.  You will be shown how to measure it and compare it with what… More

  • 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

  • Chest X-ray

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

  • Computer Tomography (CT) Scan

    With CT you can see much more detail than with a normal X-ray.… 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

  • 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

Contact Details

This page was last updated at 10:10AM on March 15, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Southern DHB Respiratory Services.