Rehab patient sitting down stretching leg exercise

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a programme of exercise and education for patients with chronic lung disease. Each programme is individually tailored to each patient.

It is suitable for patients who have a chronic lung disease such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, bronchiectasis, interstitial lung disease.

Service overview

Whilst Pulmonary Rehabilitation will not heal or cure your lung condition, it can help you do more despite this. For example, walk further and manage tasks easier.

Participating in Pulmonary rehabilitation will help you to:

  • Reduce breathlessness
  • Improve general health and level of fitness
  • Improve ability to carry out daily tasks
  • Gain a better understanding of lung diseases
  • Better control your symptoms
  • Improve the level of confidence and quality of life you have.

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation mission statement

The Surrey Downs Health and Care Pulmonary Rehabilitation team strives to provide outstanding care to every patient, every day with compassion, respect, and excellence.

The team vision is to provide a first-class service to all patients requiring pulmonary rehabilitation in Surrey Downs. This includes providing timely interventions and working collaboratively across the whole of the partnership, with the patient at the heart of everything we do.

We work as a team which has open communication, is caring, respectful and professional always. The leadership team promotes this and is committed to supporting continued professional development for all team members.

Accessing the service

Information for referrers:

Pulmonary Rehabilitation is considered a gold standard treatment for patients with chronic respiratory disease.

It is run in Surrey Downs Health and Care by a multidisciplinary team delivering an effective high-quality service, following national standards and guidelines.

Please download and complete the GP referral form [docx] 102KB

Completed referrals should be sent to Surrey Downs Referral Management Centre


Referral Criteria:

Patients referred to Pulmonary Rehabilitation need to meet the following criteria:

  • Confirmed chronic respiratory diagnosis (COPD, Asthma, Interstitial Lung Disease, Pre or post lung surgery or following curative treatment for lung cancer)
  • Limited functional ability due to breathlessness (usually MRC breathlessness grade 3 or above)
  • Post hospitalisation following an exacerbation of lung disease.


  • Optimal medical management
  • Agreeable to be referred and can commit to attending twice a week for 6 weeks.

Exclusion criteria:

Pulmonary rehabilitation is unlikely to be appropriate if a patient has significant comorbidities that render them unable or potentially unsafe to exercise.

Examples include:

  • Unable to walk more than 4m independently (with or without a walking aid)
  • Unable to follow simple commands (in a group environment)
  • Known uncontrolled cardiac arrhythmias
  • Unstable cardiovascular disease (e.g., unstable angina, severe aortic stenosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm >5.5cm)
  • Severe locomotor disease preventing the patient from being able to exercise at a moderate intensity (severe arthritis, peripheral vascular disease, CVA).

If you would like to discuss a referral or have any questions or queries, please contact the team.

Telephone: 0208 296 4488

Information for patients

How do I join a programme?

You will need to be referred to Pulmonary Rehabilitation by either your GP, hospital respiratory team or another health care professional.

A referral form [docx] 102KB is available for them to download from this website.

Once you have been referred you will be invited to attend for an assessment. These are held at different venues across the Surrey Downs area. If you are suitable for Pulmonary Rehabilitation you will be offered a place in a programme.

Further information:

Please download our Pulmonary Rehabilitation patient leaflet [pdf] 861KB

Who will I see?

When you attend for your assessment, you will meet two members of the team: a physiotherapist, nurse and a pulmonary rehabilitation assistant.

When you attend the Pulmonary Rehabilitation classes you will primarily see a nurse, physiotherapist, and Pulmonary Rehabilitation assistant.

Over the course of the programme you will meet a number of additional members of the team.  We expect you to attend twice a week for six weeks, each class is approx. 2 hours long and consist of education and exercise.

During the programme the level of exercises is increased as you become fitter, so by the end of the programme you are less breathless and  better able to cope with daily activities.

We will encourage you to continue with an exercise programme at home once you have completed the course to maintain its benefits.

Where will I be seen?

We hold classes across the Surrey Downs area at Dorking Hospital, Leatherhead Hospital and the Rainbow Centre in Epsom.

Patient quotes

Hear what our patients have to say:

Professional staff were absolutely lovely, extremely helpful. It restarted my flagging confidence and got me back on track after a severe respiratory relapse


Rehab patient using exercise equipment


‘Lifting feeling of hopelessness and helplessness’