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Chief Operating Officer of the British Lung Foundation visits RD&E & South West Peninsula Regional Respiratory Forum


Respiratory specialists and patients from across the region came together to raise awareness of respiratory disease at the British Lung Foundation’s (BLF) South West Peninsula Regional Respiratory Forum.


The event, held in Lifton, aimed to use local, regional and national political levers to improve the care for patients with lung disease across the region.
The Forum was chaired by Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust Respiratory Consultant Michael Gibbons and supported by Respiratory/Interstitial Lung Disease Specialist Nurse Sarah Lines who gave a headline speech.  It was attended by local healthcare professionals and patients with respiratory disease.


The special guest at the event was Chief Operating Officer of the British Lung Foundation Steven Wibberley. Following on from the meeting Steven took the opportunity to visit the RD&E, and met with the hospital’s respiratory team to learn more about the service they offer patients with lung disease.  


He also learnt about the ground-breaking research taking place at the Trust in partnership with the University of Exeter Medical School (UEMS). Mr Wibberley met with Dr Gill Baker from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research, Senior Clinical Research Nurse Ali Potter from the R&D Department, and Dr Chris Scotton, Senior Lecturer in Lung Pathobiology at UEMS to discuss their work. 


In addition, he chatted with a patient Mr Almond, who receives treatment for Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a type of interstitial lung disease, at the RD&E. Mr Almond is currently taking part in a clinical trial with the hospital’s research team  and has benefitted from the trial taking place locally.


Dr Michael Gibbons, RD&E Respiratory Consultant, said: “We are delighted that Mr Wibberley has taken the time to visit us today to learn more about our work supporting patients with lung disease. We very much value and admire the work undertaken by the BLF and we look forward to continued partnership working, not just at the RD&E, but across the whole of the region.”


Dr Chris Scotton, Senior Lecturer in Lung Pathobiology at UEMS, commented: “The global burden of lung disease is massive, and the BLF champions the prevention and treatment of respiratory illness. With the close ties between the RD&E hospital and the University of Exeter, we’re pursuing the same goal in the Southwest - supported by vital dialogue between patients, clinicians and researchers like myself. It was a privilege to welcome Mr Wibberley to Exeter, and highlight how our work supports the BLF’s vision.”


Steven Wibberley, Chief Operating Officer, The British Lung Foundation added:  

“It was a privilege to visit the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust’s Interstitial lung disease (ILD) team to discuss how we can improve the lives of people with respiratory disease.


“ILD can have a major impact on a person’s life, with breathlessness making it difficult for patients to walk up stairs or just get dressed. Almost half of those diagnosed with the most common type of ILD, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), do not live for more than three years after diagnosis. It is therefore essential that we continue to come together to improve treatment and care for these patients.”


The British Lung Foundation is a national charity providing help and support to patients with lung disease. To find out more please visit

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