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Sharing experience of managing respiratory health


Now in its sixth year, the Managing Difficult Lung Disease meeting integrates current evidence with expert opinion. It covers significant clinical issues that affect consultants and registrars in their everyday work.

Early beginnings

Initially, the meeting was a one-day event that focused on difficult asthma. It started when Professor Ian Sabroe of the Academic Unit of Respiratory Medicine discovered an enthusiasm among his colleagues in the field to share their experiences. His vision was for practical case-based discussion, looking at what really happens in the clinic and the common issues that arise. Around 90 people attended the first meeting in Sheffield, which drew a lot of attention from respiratory health professionals in the Midlands and north of England.


Since these early days, the meeting has widened its focus to cover all areas of lung disease, the whole of the UK, and now takes place over two days. Between 90 and 120 people participate each year; the event brings together experienced consultants, interested trainees and the best speakers from across the country. It is a mix that has proved to be extremely successful.

Professor Sabroe says: “We wanted to create an environment where people are talking from their own experience about what troubles them in their daily practice, rather than simply reiterating how to manage things according to the guidelines. Speakers are encouraged to think of a case in their current clinical experience where the evidence base for managing it is not necessarily immediately clear; grey areas where the right decision not only comes down to evidence but also to expert opinion.”


GlaxoSmithKline sponsors the meeting and has done from the beginning. With no input into the meeting’s content and no trade stand, the pharmaceutical company is instead rewarded by being associated with a unique and progressive educational activity. Other meetings are now supported by the company along the same lines.

Such support has meant that Professor Sabroe can keep the costs down for the attendees. At £40–£80 for two days, this event offers excellent value continuing professional development and practical learning.

Plans for the future

As it provides a rare opportunity for professionals to discuss day-to-day clinical issues, the meeting will continue to be held annually. The simple format could be applied to any specialism. Natural evolution will keep things fresh, although the basic structure will stay the same, as Professor Sabroe emphasises:

“It’s always continuously morphing, but the essential formula of completely case-based discussion covering a broad range of general topics is pretty unique – there are no other meetings in the UK in respiratory [that] run like this. We put together people from lots of different backgrounds and cover lots of different areas so we’ll try to carry it on as the feedback is universally positive.”