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Breathlessness intervention service (BIS)

Patient information A-Z

Breathlessness is a very common symptom in long-term conditions. Living with breathlessness can be difficult and distressing; however, the Breathlessness Intervention Service (BIS) can help.

What is the Breathlessness Intervention Service?

The BIS began in 2004. The team includes a consultant in palliative care, specialist occupational therapists and specialist respiratory physiotherapists. The service offers a variety of evidence-based interventions that can help patients and their families live more easily with breathlessness. We do not offer medicines but offer advice and practical techniques to help you build on your existing strategies to manage breathlessness and live more comfortably and confidently.

Who is the Breathlessness Intervention Service for?

The BIS is for patients who:

  • are troubled by breathlessness due to a diagnosed condition
  • are having, or have previously received, treatment for the underlying cause of their breathlessness
  • may benefit from self-management strategies

What will happen at my first appointment?

During the first appointment – at your home, in clinic, or by telephone or video – we will get to know more about you and the problems you are facing with your breathing. We will offer you some advice and strategies, which are backed up by research, and a useful information pack. This appointment can last up to an hour. It may be helpful for you to have a family member or carer present if you would like. If further appointments are required these will often be shorter and focused on specific interventions.

How can I be referred to the Breathlessness Intervention Service?

Please speak with your GP or hospital clinician to discuss referral.

Working with healthcare staff

We always work closely with others involved in your care including your GP, hospital consultants and any community-based nursing, physiotherapy or occupational therapy staff. Our specialist advice around breathing can often help them support you.

Contacts and further information

If you have any questions about our service or would like to find out more, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01223 274404.

If you have any compliments, comments or complaints about the service then please contact the service lead on 01223 274404 or email Julie Burkin.

You can also contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (opens in a new tab) (PALS) staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital for help and information on 01223 216756.


You can talk to us about any confidential concerns and we will respect your privacy and dignity during consultations. We have a duty of care as health professionals to inform others or seek advice if we identify a risk to yourself or others.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151