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Your Breathing Matters – online learning sessions open to all

We asked people who live with respiratory conditions, and their families, what they thought would help them to live as well as possible and they told us that they’d like to be able meet members of their respiratory healthcare team, learn from them and be able to ask questions outside of clinical settings.

In response, we are now planning to hold regular online sessions focused on “living well with your respiratory condition and symptoms”.  Sessions will be offered every month or 6 weeks, with each session having a different focus, and led by respiratory and self-management specialists from the NHS and 3rd sector.  Sessions will always include the opportunity to ask questions, either in advance (by email) or during the session itself.  There is no need to speak unless you want to.

Videos and presentations from previous sessions (more details below)

Asthma - a talk about living well with asthma, by Corinne Clark, Specialist Respiratory Nurse (Session 4 - Aug'22)

Breathing, Thinking and Functioning - a talk by Michelle Duffy, Specialist Respiratory Nurse (Session 1 - Feb'22)

COPD - a presentation by Dr Lorna Murray, Respiratory Consultant (Session 3 - Jun'22)

Healthy Home - Humidity and Air Quality - A Self Help Guide - a talk by Donnie Mackay, Energy Advice Manager (Session 2 - Apr'22)

Managing Cough - a talk by Jude Colligan, Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist (Session 2 - Apr'22)

Self Management - a talk by Joanne McCoy, LGOWIT (Session 1 - Feb'22)

Singing - Can Singing Really Help my Breathlessness, a talk by Anne Richie, Coordinator of the Cheyne Gang (Session 3 - Jun'22)

Your Breathing Matters – 2023 programme

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We are busy putting together a full programme of Your Breathing Matters sessions for 2023, each with a different focus.  The format will be slightly different this year, with sessions being held every month, each with just one main speaker.  As before sessions will be hosted by Michelle Duffy, one of NHS Highland's specialist respiratory nurses.  Look out for updates, as speakers are confirmed.



Speakers - to be confirmed

Thursday 23rd Feb     1-2pm

Living with a chronic respiratory condition?  What can Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland do for you? 


Debbie Sutherland Community support services manager, North of Scotland, CHSS

Sue Littlemore, CHSS Community respiratory nurse, NHS Highland

Thursday 30th March   1-2pm

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis- what is it and what resources are in Highland to help?

Dr. Beth Sage, Respiratory consultant

Alison Stewart, Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Thursday 27th April   1-2pm

What resources are in my area to help me to live well with my chronic respiratory condition?

Lets Get on With It Together– Joanne McCoy, Manager,  LGOWIT

Thursday 25th May    1-2pm

Inhalers and how to make sure you get the best from them

Catriona Whelan, Respiratory pharmacist

Elaine Finlayson, Advanced practice respiratory nurse

Thursday 29th June   1-2pm

Understanding chronic breathlessness  and techniques that can help

Michelle Duffy, Advanced practice respiratory nurse

Thursday 27th July    1-2pm

What is bronchiectasis and how can I manage it well?

Dr. Anne- Marie Shanks, Respiratory consultant

Mahri Swanson, Community respiratory nurse specialist

Jude Colligan, Specialist respiratory physiotherapist

Thursday 31st August  1-2pm

How can technology help me with my respiratory condition?

Technology Enabled Care team, NHS Highland

Sue Littlemore, CHSS Community respiratory nurse

Thursday 28th Sept    1-2pm

Smoking – what difference does it make to lung health?

Public Health team, NHS Highland

Thursday 26th October 1-2pm

Living with a chronic respiratory condition? Are you getting winter ready?

Elaine Finlayson, Mahri Swanson, Carolyn MacLeod, Dr. Kirsty Griffiths

Thursday 30th Nov    1-2pm

To be confirmed






You are welcome to sign up for just one session, or all of them, depending on your needs and interests.  If you would like to suggest other topics, please let us know at:  nhsh.communityrespiratoryteam@nhs.scot

Sessions will be continuing beyond 2022, with topics likely to include:

  • Support groups available in the Highlands and how they can help
  • Identifying and managing anxiety and looking after your mental wellbeing
  • Pulmonary rehab – what it is and why it is important
  • Respiratory conditions – diagnosis, treatment, progression
  • Advice about discussing what matters to me and advanced care planning
  • What to do when you have a flare up – medication and other interventions
  • What you should expect from your GP and practice nurse
  • How the specialist respiratory nurses work & what they have to offer
  • When to call an ambulance & how the paramedics decide what to do next
  • How housing can impact on your respiratory health and what to do about it
  • Introducing you to the Highland’s peer support groups
  • Advice about healthy eating including food choices, frequency, portion size
  • Coping with loss and bereavement
  • Caring for somebody with a respiratory condition and taking care of yourself

Technology: The Your Breathing Matters sessions will use the Near Me group video conferencing technology – which is very simple to use.  All you need is: 

  • PC, laptop​, smartphone ​or tablet 
  • Reliable internet connection 
  • Chrome, Safari or Edge internet browser 

For more information about using Near Me, please visit the national Near Me website, where you will find an FAQ and technical information.  There is local Near Me information at: NHS Highland - Near Me and you can make a test call  at: Near Me Test Call

Places: The Near Me system can now accommodate 60 participants, so encourage your friends and colleagues to register.

Your Breathing Matters - Thursday 23rd February 2023 - 1pm to 2pm

Season 2 - February - This session is about living with a chronic respiratory condition and what Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland do for you.

The speakers are expected to be:

  • Debbie Sutherland Community support services manager, North of Scotland, CHSS
  • Sue Littlemore, CHSS Community respiratory nurse, NHS Highland

Visit Eventbrite to book your place at this Your Breathing Matters session by following this link:  https://bit.ly/YBM-2023-02  

Date and time: Thursday 23rd February 2023 at 1pm to 2pm

Host: The session will be hosted by Michelle Duffy, one of our specialist respiratory nurses.

Technology: The session will use the Near Me group video conferencing technology – which is very simple to use.  All you need is: 

  • PC, laptop​, smartphone ​or tablet 
  • Reliable internet connection 
  • Chrome, Safari or Edge internet browser 

We’ll send you some more details and the link you’ll use to join the session on the day

Places: The Near Me system can now accommodate 60 participants, so encourage your friends and colleagues to register.

Your Breathing Matters - videos and presentations from 2022 sessions

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Session four - 23rd August 2022

Corinne Clark, Specialist Respiratory Nurse - living well with asthma

Asthma - a presentation by Corinne Clark, Specialist Respiratory Nurse (Session 4 - Aug'22)


Session three - 21st June 2022

Anne Ritchie, coordinator for the Cheyne Gang - Can Singing Really Help My Breathlessness


COPD - a presentation by Dr Lorna Murray, Respiratory Consultant (Session 3 - Jun'22)


Session two - 20th April 2022

Donny Mackay, Energy Advice Services Manager, Skye & Lochalsh Housing Association - ways to look after the air you breathe: helping your home to breathe can help your breathing

Towards a Healthy Home - Managing Dampness, Humidity and Air Quality - a presentation from Lochalsh & Skye Housing Association (Session 2 - Apr'22) 

Jude Colligan, Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist - managing your cough and ways to cough effectively to keep your chest clear 

Session one - 23rd February 2022 - Learning to live well with breathlessness

Michelle Duffy, one of NHS Highland's Specialist Respiratory Nurses - Breathing, Thinking and Functioning - managing breathlessness.

Joanne McCoy of LGOWIT - self-management tips and skills.


Hints and Tips Shared by Patients at Your Breathing Matters Sessions

 Take out your phone and read a few texts or take some photos to distract you and help you feel calm      Carry a plastic bag in your pocket so you can put it down and sit anywhere whenever you need a rest                                              Let those you are with know when you need to take a rest and focus on your breathing     

Transforming Respiratory Services project - May 2019 to October 2022

Transforming Respiratory Service project

You will find a range of project papers at:

Early stages of the project - Discover and Define Padlet

Project report, papers and achievements - Develop and Deliver Padlet 

Videos of the end of project event

With thanks to Rowena Cooper for editing these videos of the event

Respiratory Pathfinder Event - Part One - Introductions

Respiratory Pathfinder Event - Part Two - Animation

Respiratory Pathfinder Event - Part Three - Experiences

Respiratory Pathfinder Event - Part Four - First Panel Discussion

Respiratory Pathfinder Event - Part Five - Facts & Stats Presentation

Respiratory Pathfinder Event - Part Six - Second Panel Discussion - What Next

Respiratory Pathfinder Event - Part Seven - Closing Comments

Host, speakers and panel members at the end of project event

The official title of our project is the Highland TEC Transforming Local Systems Pathfinder project.  The project (along with 3 other pathfinder projects) was funded by the Scottish Government’s TEC Programme.


Pennie Taylor is an award-winning freelance journalist and broadcaster who specialises in health and care issues. Based in Glasgow, she was BBC Scotland’s first Health Correspondent and has also worked on the newsdesks of national newspapers. A former Head of Communications for the Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust in Edinburgh, Pennie has inside knowledge of how public services work. This gives her a uniquely informed perspective from which to approach and stimulate debate.


Speakers and panel members – in alphabetical order

Your speakers and panel members during the event are:

Rowena Cooper – Rowena is a medical doctor who has been embedded within the Respiratory Service and working full time on our project for the last 3 years.  She has made a huge contribution to the project, providing a link between clinical and research colleagues and by bringing dedication, hard work and creativity throughout.

Michelle Duffy –   Michelle is an Advanced Practice Respiratory Nurse working in our Community team, and has played a key part in the project right from the start and throughout, contributing ideas, experience, knowledge, enthusiasm and huge amounts of time.

David Gillman – David is a GP in the Highlands and District Medical Lead for East Ross.  David has contributed to the project at various different stages, bringing an important GP perspective to our discussions, though his daily commitments have made it difficult to maintain active involvement throughout.  

Emma Knox – Emma is Head of Business Development for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS).  In her previous roles with CHSS Emma made an enormous contribution to the project, bringing the 3rd sector (and patient) perspective, as well as her huge wealth of knowledge and experience.

Reg Lewis & Angela Lewis – Angela is a retired nurse and also the wife and carer of Reg, who is a respiratory patient and long-time organiser of the Wick Wheezers peer support group.  Together Reg and Angela have played a key role in the project, consistently attending our meetings and providing insights and advice from patient and carer perspectives over many months.

Tracy Ligema – Tracy is NHS Highland’s Programme Director for Unscheduled Care and is currently taking a lead role in Interface Care work within the health board.  Tracy has been involved with our project right from the very beginning, when the first Scoping Meeting was held with the national team back in early May 2019, and has maintained an interest in, and oversight of, the project ever since.

Donnie Mackay – Donnie is Energy Advice Services Manager at Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association.  Donnie has brought a housing perspective to the project, and has contributed enthusiastically at various different stages as the project has progressed.

Sarah-Anne Munoz – Sarah is Professor of Rural Health at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and has been a key member of the project team right from the start, responsible for research and evaluation activities, much of our patient engagement work and often for presenting our progress, findings and plans to the national team and others.

Lorna Murray – Lorna is one of NHS Highland’s Consultant Respiratory Physicians, and has played a fundamental role in representing the views of the respiratory service throughout the project, contributing ideas, experience and knowledge and always remaining positive, committed and enthusiastic.

David Park – now NHS Highland’s Deputy Chief Executive, David was the Chief Officer of the Health and Social Care partnership when the project began back in 2019.  At that time David took the role of executive sponsor for the project and he has maintained a firm interest in our progress ever since. 

Iain Ross – Iain is head of eHealth (IT) in Highland and, despite the many other pressures on his time, has taken a real interest in the project throughout, exploring ideas for improvements to technology and data sharing with us, assisting us with contacts, and contributing the eHealth perspective whenever possible.

Margot White – Margot has been the national lead for the Transforming Local Systems programme throughout our project, acting as a combination of facilitator, mentor and advisor, always challenging our thinking and progress, and encouraging us to achieve more and better.

Margaret Whoriskey – Margaret is the national Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Programme Director, Head of Technology Enabled Care and Healthcare Innovation within the Digital Health and Care Directorate of the Scottish Government.  As such Margaret has overall responsibility for the programme which has funded our project

Johnny Will – Johnny now has a post as NHS National Improvement Adviser with Scottish Government, but until recently was the Clinical Effectiveness Lead working on respiratory pathways for the Scottish Ambulance Service.  Johnny has been a dedicated and enthusiastic member of our team, bringing the ambulance service perspective to our work as well as knowledge of respiratory services elsewhere in Scotland.

What do you think about the Respiratory Resource Hub?

Please go to our brief feedback survey to tell us what you think about the Respiratory Resource Hub.  We would particularly like to know if you think any information is missing, or there are other topics you would like the resource hub to cover.