British Thoracic Society
The British Thoracic Society (BTS) was formed in 1982 by the amalgamation of the British Thoracic Association and the Thoracic Society. It is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.


The Society’s main charitable objective is to improve the care of people with respiratory
Respiratory disease
Respiratory disease is a medical term that encompasses pathological conditions affecting the organs and tissues that make gas exchange possible in higher organisms, and includes conditions of the upper respiratory tract, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, pleura and pleural cavity, and the...

 and associated disorders, which it aims to achieve by:
  • promoting optimum standards of care
    Standard of care
    In tort law, the standard of care is the degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care.The requirements of the standard are closely dependent on circumstances. Whether the standard of care has been breached is determined by the trier of fact, and is usually...

     (the Clinical Information section of the BTS website contains treatment Guidelines, good practice guides and related audit tools)
  • promoting and advancing knowledge about the causes, prevention and treatment of respiratory diseases (the society runs two large conferences
    Academic conference
    An academic conference or symposium is a conference for researchers to present and discuss their work. Together with academic or scientific journals, conferences provide an important channel for exchange of information between researchers.-Overview:Conferences are usually composed of various...

     each year and a range of short courses and are currently developing an e-learning
    E-learning comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. The information and communication systems, whether networked learning or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process...

     resource - more details of these can be found in the Education Hub)
  • promoting and disseminating research
    Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

     (the Society's Winter Meeting is the main showcase for this activity, as well as the journal Thorax, published jointly with the British Medical Journal
    British Medical Journal
    BMJ is a partially open-access peer-reviewed medical journal. Originally called the British Medical Journal, the title was officially shortened to BMJ in 1988. The journal is published by the BMJ Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association...

    , and the Research section of the website contains more information about our other activities).


BTS is a membership organization
Membership organization
A membership organization is a broad term for a group or body which has members. Typically any member of the public can join and a membership fee or "subscription" is payable, but arrangements vary widely...

, with nearly 3000 members from the respiratory health sector. These include doctor
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

s, nurses, respiratory physiotherapists, scientists and other professionals with an interest in respiratory disease.

It is situated a few hundred metres east of Great Ormond Street Hospital
Great Ormond Street Hospital
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children is a children's hospital located in London, United Kingdom...

, off Gray's Inn Road
Gray's Inn Road
Gray's Inn Road, formerly Gray's Inn Lane, is a major road in central London, in the London Borough of Camden. It is named after Gray's Inn, one of the main Inns of Court. The road starts in Holborn, near Chancery Lane tube station and the boundaries of the City of London and the London Borough...


The Society also works in partnership with a range of organisations to achieve its objectives. These partners include other respiratory health professional groups, organisations representing patients and carers, medical and surgical Royal College
Royal College
A Royal College in some Commonwealth countries is technically a college which has received permission to use the prefix Royal. Permission is usually granted through a Royal Charter. The charter normally confers a constitution with perpetual succession and the right to sue or be sued independently...

s and other specialist societies.

Governance and staff

BTS currently has eight members of staff and a number of other associates who deal with the day-to-day running of the Society, including a Chief Executive and a Deputy Chief Executive.

BTS is managed by its Trustee
Trustee is a legal term which, in its broadest sense, can refer to any person who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another...

s, who are the officers and members of the Executive Committee. The President and President-elect are elected annually by the membership. The other officers serve for three years and nomination
Nomination is part of the process of selecting a candidate for either election to an office, or the bestowing of an honor or award.In the context of elections for public office, a candidate who has been selected by a political party is normally said to be the nominee of that party...

s for these posts are sought from the membership.

BTS has five established Standing Committees, the chairs of which each sit on the Executive Committee. These Committees are:
  • Standards of Care Committee
  • Science and Research Committee
  • Professional & Organisational Standards Committee
  • Education and Training Committee
  • Workforce Committee.

In addition, the BTS has newly created a Public Liaison Committee to help the Society to place citizens and those with respiratory disease at the centre of their work. The Chair of this Committee will be a Trustee of the Society.

Specialist Advisory Groups

BTS has a network of Specialist Advisory Groups which are made up of specialist professionals and provide expert support opinion.

Each Specialist Advisory Group focuses on a specific issue:
  • Asthma
    Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath...

  • COPD
    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , also known as chronic obstructive lung disease , chronic obstructive airway disease , chronic airflow limitation and chronic obstructive respiratory disease , is the co-occurrence of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a pair of commonly co-existing diseases...

  • Critical Care
    Critical care
    Critical care may refer to:* Critical care medicine or intensive-care medicine, a branch of medicine concerned with life support for critically ill patients* "Critical Care" , an episode of the TV series...

  • Cystic Fibrosis
    Cystic fibrosis
    Cystic fibrosis is a recessive genetic disease affecting most critically the lungs, and also the pancreas, liver, and intestine...

  • Interstitial Lung Disease
  • Interventional Procedures
  • Lung Cancer
    Lung cancer
    Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

     and Mesothelioma
    Mesothelioma, more precisely malignant mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body's internal organs, the mesothelium...

  • Occupational
    Occupational lung disease
    Main Article Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Occupational lung diseases are a branch of occupational diseases concerned primarily with work related exposures to harmful substances, be they dusts or gases, and the subsequent pulmonary disorders that may occur as a result...

     & Environmental Lung Health
  • Orphan Lung Disease
  • Oxygen
    Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

  • Pulmonary Hypertension
    Pulmonary hypertension
    In medicine, pulmonary hypertension is an increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, or pulmonary capillaries, together known as the lung vasculature, leading to shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, and other symptoms, all of which are exacerbated by exertion...

  • Pulmonary Infection
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • Tobacco
    Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

  • Tuberculosis
    Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...


The production of evidence-based
Evidence-based medicine
Evidence-based medicine or evidence-based practice aims to apply the best available evidence gained from the scientific method to clinical decision making. It seeks to assess the strength of evidence of the risks and benefits of treatments and diagnostic tests...

 Guidelines for good clinical practice
Good clinical practice
Good Clinical Practice is an international quality standard that is provided by International Conference on Harmonisation , an international body that defines standards, which governments can transpose into regulations for clinical trials involving human subjects.Good Clinical Practice guidelines...

 lies at the heart of the Society’s work. Guidelines are produced by multidisciplinary groups working under the auspices of the Society’s Standards of Care Committee, and are published in the journal Thorax.
The British Guideline for the Management of Asthma, produced jointly by BTS and SIGN, enjoys international recognition and is updated annually.
Other recent Guidelines include the BTS Guideline for Emergency Oxygen Use in Adult Patients, and the BTS/ACPRC Guideline for Physiotherapy Management of the Adult Spontaneously Breathing Patient.
Copies of all BTS guidelines are available on the BTS website.

Meetings and Short Course Programme

BTS holds two annual conferences; the Summer Meeting in the last week of June and the Winter Meeting which takes place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre is a conference centre in the City of Westminster, London. It is located in the heart of the city, a minute's walk from the Palace of Westminster, seat of the United Kingdom's Parliament...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in the first week of December. These Meetings bring together medical professionals with an interest in respiratory medicine
Respiratory Medicine
The Respiratory Medicine journal is published by Elsevier Science. Its subjects are internal medicine and practice of medicine.Its ISSN is 0954-6111. Its impact factor in 2004 was 2,086....


The Summer Meeting is the main annual educational event, with clinical updates and the opportunity for a multi-disciplinary audience to discuss key issues and share good practice.
There is also a wide-ranging programme of short courses.

The BTS Winter Meeting attracts over 2000 delegates each year and is the UK’s primary respiratory scientific meeting, with the emphasis on presenting updates on current respiratory research and symposia
In ancient Greece, the symposium was a drinking party. Literary works that describe or take place at a symposium include two Socratic dialogues, Plato's Symposium and Xenophon's Symposium, as well as a number of Greek poems such as the elegies of Theognis of Megara...

from leading researchers from all over the world. Young Investigators and Medical Students are encouraged to put forward abstracts and prizes are awarded in each category.
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