One of the best rates of survival in the country for patients admitted in respiratory failure.

We may see you in our respiratory service if you have a respiratory disease such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, pulmonary fibrosis.

As well as our general respiratory clinics, we also have specialist clinics for lung cancer, sleep medicine, cough, bronchiectasis and pleural disease.

We can also help you if you suffer from a chronic cough  – we offer the only chronic cough clinics in the North East and these run from our general hospitals at Wansbeck and North Tyneside.

One of the largest respiratory services in the North East providing specialist clinics for respiratory problems.

For sleep-related problems we have a sleep service which runs from all three of our general hospitals – Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck – as well as our community hospital in Berwick.

If you have an interest in participating in research, our respiratory department is active in clinical research and a number of clinical trials are in progress at any time. Please speak to a member of our clinical team on 0191 293 4087 if you would like more information.

Patient information: Learning from the pandemic: Avoiding COPD flare-ups and hospital admissions

Video consultations


We can offer online consultations where appropriate via a video call to make it easier for you to attend.

Rather than travelling to your appointment, you will receive a text or email before your appointment and simply need to click to join. Find out more here.


  • A good connection to the internet
  • A private, well-lit area where you won’t be disturbed during the consultation
  • One of the following- Google Chrome web browser or Safari web browser
  • Web-camera, speakers and microphone  already built into your  laptop or mobile device

Video calls are secure, your privacy is protected. You have your own private video room that only authorised clinicians can enter.

  • The video call is free (except for your internet usage)
  • You don’t use any data while waiting for a clinician to join you
  • A video call uses a similar amount of data to Skype of FaceTime
  • If you’re using  a smartphone or tablet, if you can, connect to a home or work Wi-Fi network to avoid using your mobile data allowance

Dr Mark WeatherheadPortrait of Dr Mark Weatherhead.jpg

Consultant in respiratory medicine

Dr Weatherhead is a consultant in respiratory medicine and his areas of specialty are lung cancer, endobronchial ultrasound and sleep medicine.

Having carried out his undergraduate training in London, Mark gained experience of working in a number of hospitals in the UK before settling in the North East. He has been a consultant at Northumbria Healthcare for over 10 years.

Dr Weatherhead has a special interest in lung cancer and is the lung cancer lead at Wansbeck and the lead cancer clinician for the trust. He has developed the local endobronchial ultrasound service and was the clinical lead for an innovative programme aimed at identifying lung cancer in its early stages which involved introducing walk-in chest x-ray services.

Dr Weatherhead runs the sleep service at Wansbeck and Hexham hospitals and carries out clinics on both sites in conjunction with respiratory physiology colleagues.

Dr Weatherhead sees patients at Hexham and Wansbeck general hospitals.

Dr Alice Melville

Consultant in respiratory medicine

Dr Melville has worked as a consultant in the trust for over ten years and has a broad range of interests in respiratory medicine.

She established, and leads, the bronchiectasis service at Wansbeck General Hospital as well as the home intravenous antibiotic programme as part of this set up. Dr Melville holds clinics in lung cancer and general respiratory medicine, seeing patients at Wansbeck and Blyth Hospitals.

Having graduated from Newcastle medical school Dr Melville’s post-graduate training was in Leeds and Australia before returning to the North East. Dr Melville has an MD in COPD-related epidemiology from Newcastle University undertaken as part of Teaching and Research Fellowship within the trust.  She is an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians, examining both nationally and internationally.

Dr Sean ParkerA portrait of Dr Sean Parker

Consultant respiratory physician

Dr Parker's areas of specialty are airway disease, particularly chronic cough and asthma.

Dr Parker runs the only specialist chronic cough clinic in the region, offering a comprehensive assessment and access to innovative cough treatments including speech therapy. He is a member of the British Thoracic Society specialist advisory  group on cough.

He is developing a new multidisciplinary asthma service so the trust can offer a local service for Northumbria patients.

Dr Parker is involved in cough research and offers patients access to clinical trials of exciting new cough treatments.

Dr Bryan Yates

Consultant in respiratory medicine

Dr Bryan Yates has broad respiratory interests which include the specialist sleep apnoea service. He also runs the critical care follow up clinic.

Graduated from Newcastle medical school and went on to complete specialist training in respiratory and critical care medicine. He was appointed as a consultant in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in 2010.

Dr John Steer

Consultant in Respiratory Medicine

Dr Steer is lead of the bronchiectasis and tuberculosis service at North Tyneside General Hospital. He has been a consultant at the trust since 2014, having previously worked at in hospitals in the North East after graduating from Edinburgh University.

He completed training in respiratory and general medicine in the Northern Deanery during which he completed a PhD which, as part of an ongoing research programme within our trust, has influenced national practice for patients hospitalised with exacerbations of COPD. Dr Steer continues to participate in research and publish regularly in journals.

Dr Simon Fearby

Consultant in respiratory medicine

Dr Fearby’s areas of specialty include lung cancer, lung infection, chronic cough and airways disease

He sees patients for general respiratory conditions in Wansbeck and Hexham general hospitals, and carries out bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound and pleural ultrasound.

Dr Fearby trained in London, working as a junior doctor there before carrying a period of research at Southampton. He then returned to London to complete respiratory and general medicine training, He has been a consultant since 2006, working at the Cumberland Infirmary before relocating back to his native North East to continue working as a consultant.

Dr Claire McBrearty

Consultant in respiratory and general medicine

Dr McBrearty’s specialist areas of interests are  lung cancer and pleural disease, and diagnostics in these areas including endobronchial ultrasound and medical thoracoscopy.

After graduating from Glasgow University in 2006, Dr McBrearty worked in hospitals in Glasgow and Manchester before moving to the North East. She completed higher specialist training in respiratory and general internal medicine in 2015.

Dr McBrearty sees patients at Wansbeck General Hospital and Hexham General Hospital.

Professor Stephen BourkePortrait of Professor Stephen Bourke

Consultant in respiratory medicine and Honorary Professor, Newcastle University.

Prof Bourke's areas of specialty are the chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), non-invasive ventilation (NIV) and sleep clinical services, and respiratory research.

Prof Bourke qualified from Queen’s University Belfast with Honours in 1991. He joined the trust as a consultant physician in 2003 and, having been heavily involved in their development, is the lead for the COPD, NIV and sleep services and the respiratory research programme. He also helped establish the thoracoscopy service within the trust which has led to much more rapid diagnosis and treatment for people with pleural disease, including cancer.

He chaired the British Thoracic Society COPD Specialist Advisory Group and served on the Royal College of Physicians National COPD Audit Committee from 2016 to 2019, and currently sits on the British Thoracic Society Standards of Care Committee. He has been invited to present at national and international meetings and taught on NIV courses for both the British Thoracic Society and Royal College of Physicians. NIV is a way of supporting a patient’s breathing without placing a tube in their airway, offering many advantages over conventional invasive ventilation. The NIV service Prof Bourke has developed with the specialist physiotherapists, is highly innovative and clinical outcomes for patients during life-threatening illnesses requiring this form of ventilation are excellent (the mortality rate is half of the national average). He was invited to present the service design at the launch of a National NIV Report ‘Inspiring Change’ in 2017 and joined the committee tasked with developing National NIV Quality Standards in 2017/18.

Prof Bourke is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He gained a PhD through Newcastle University and, in recognition of his contribution to respiratory research, has been awarded an honorary chair. In addition, he has represented the British Thoracic Society in the development of National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on NIV in motor neurone disease.

He leads an internationally recognised COPD and NIV research programme, supported by research fellows and nurses, and teams at other hospital trusts which have recruited patients. This includes the development of clinical risk scores to help clinicians identify which patients with COPD can be safely managed at home and those who would benefit from much closer monitoring, both in-hospital and after discharge (the ‘DECAF’ and ‘PEARL’ scores). This has led to the establishment of new clinical services for patients.

The National Institute of Health Research gave Prof Bourke a Clinical Research Impact of the year award in 2016 and identified the trust’s seminal clinical trial on ‘hospital at home’ selected by DECAF for patients with COPD as one of the studies most likely to influence clinical practice nationally. The clinical service established with the respiratory specialist nursing team based on this research won a trust innovation and quality improvement award. A similar clinical tool has been developed for patients requiring NIV; this is intended to better inform discussions between patients, their families and doctors, and clinical decisions about provision of this life-saving treatment. Earlier research includes a randomised controlled trial showing that home NIV improves survival and quality of life in motor neurone disease, leading to a marked increase in use of NIV in this condition.

Prof Bourke has published in many international medical journals and contributed chapters to post-graduate textbooks. He is involved in the education and training of medical students, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

Prof Bourke sees patients at North Tyneside General Hospital.

Dr Sarah Haney

Consultant in respiratory and general medicine

Dr Haney's areas of specialty are lung cancer, interstitial lung disease, endobronchial ultrasound.

Dr Haney has a special interest in lung cancer and is the lead physician at Wansbeck General Hospital for interstitial lung disease and is working with colleagues across the region to improve services in this area.

In addition, Sarah is trained in endobronchial and pleural ultrasound and is a member of the national asthma guidelines evidence review body.

After studying medicine at Manchester University, Dr Haney worked in hospitals in the North West before spending two years in asthma research in New Zealand. She then completed her specialist training in the North East and has been a consultant in the trust for three years.

Dr Haney sees patients in Wansbeck General Hospital and Morpeth NHS Centre.

Dr David CooperPortrait of Dr David Cooper

Consultant in respiratory medicine

Dr Cooper's areas of specialty are pleural disease, medical thoracoscopy and lung cancer.

Dr Cooper graduated from Newcastle University with distinction. He completed his higher specialist training in respiratory and internal medicine in 2009 and was appointed consultant at North Tyneside General Hospital the same year.

Dr Cooper has a specialist interest in pleural disease and has been developing this service within the trust. This includes the medical thoracoscopy service, specialist pleural clinics and indwelling pleural catheter service. He is actively involved in national research in this area, linking in with other areas of interest including lung oncology and lung infection.

He is the treasurer and a committee member of the North of England Thoracic Society.

Dr Cooper sees patients at North Tyneside General Hospital.

The only service in the North East to have a chronic cough clinic.

Lung Function & Sleep Department

The Lung Function Department at Northumbria Healthcare offers a large number of respiratory tests for outpatients and inpatients over several sites including North Tyneside General, Wansbeck General, Hexham General and Berwick Infirmary.

All routine lung function tests, such as Spirometry, are performed using bacterial/viral filters, which prevent any risk of cross-contamination. We also perform many other special tests, including: Exercise tests, Provocation tests and Fitness to Fly studies. We also perform sleep studies and provide full support for our patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) on CPAP and other therapies (not currently at Alnwick or Blyth). For further information about OSA and to find resources to help you prepare for your telephone sleep clinic appointments please see the provided documents and webpage links.

Lung function and sleep department contact details:

Call our new direct numbers:

  • 0191 293 4395 for North Tyneside, Alnwick & Berwick
  • 01670 529793 for Wansbeck, Hexham & Blyth 




Useful Information