Research and innovation

The specialty of respiratory medicine has an excellent track record for undertaking multicentre clinical research and continues to encourage respiratory specialty trainees to take time out of their training programmes to undertake research projects. The UK Respiratory Research Collaborative (UKRRC) was formed in 2006 by the British Thoracic Society (BTS), lung charities, research funding bodies and other respiratory professional societies. Its aims are to prioritise and facilitate translational respiratory research and build research capacity. Respiratory research training fellowships have been established. A respiratory specialty group of the NIHR Clinical Research Network is well established. The group works closely with stakeholders including the BTS, Asthma UK, the British Lung Foundation and others to promote the successful delivery of research studies in the NHS addressing patient needs. There is also close collaboration with colleagues from across the NIHR network to deliver high-quality respiratory research in lung cancer and respiratory infection. The annual BTS winter meeting attracts between 2,200 and 2,500 delegates and is one of Europe’s largest respiratory scientific conferences. The Society is co-publisher of the journal Thorax with the BMJ.

The specialty has, from a very early stage, supported the move towards integrated care models in the UK. The IMPRESS programme (set up in 2007 by BTS and the Primary Care Respiratory Society UK) provides information, tools and training materials about integrated service delivery. In 2014, BTS established Respiratory Futures, a ‘virtual respiratory national network’ to spread best practice and learning from quality improvement projects, partly funded by NHS England. Information that was developed under the IMPRESS programme remains much sought after and is being expanded via Respiratory Futures.