Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS) is a condition which interrupts breathing during sleep. OSAS causes breathing to become abnormally slow and shallow (hypopnoea) and then to stop (apnoea) because the muscles at the top of the throat collapse. This causes snoring at first, followed by a drop in blood oxygen levels. The brain detects this, tells you to wake up and you make an extra effort to breathe. After a few deep breaths, you will go back to sleep again, often not aware that you have woken up.

The sleep-disordered breathing service primarily investigates and treats patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea occurs when the muscles in the throat relax when you sleep, causing narrowing or a temporary blockage of the throat. It is normal for the airway to narrow occasionally when you sleep, however those with moderate or severe sleep apnoea often experience sleepiness, daytime napping and reduced energy/alertness during the day, and may benefit from treatment.

The Sleep apnoea team provide the following services:

  • Home sleep studies
  • Home oximetry studies
  • Trial of CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
  • Long-term support of patients registered with the service

Our Eastern service is overseen by Respiratory Consultants and led by the Respiratory/Sleep Physiologists from the Clinical Measurements department. Other sleep conditions, including narcolepsy, insomnia, REM sleep disorders and parasomnias, should be referred to the Neurology team.

We also offer this for our Northern services. If you are diagnosed with OSAS you will be followed up by one of the Respiratory Consultants and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Respiratory Care.

Information and about us

The Interstitial Lung Disease Service at the Royal Devon and Exeter is an NHS England regional commissioned service covering Devon, Cornwall and some of Dorset and Somerset. Your GP or local respiratory doctor will need to refer you to the service. We encourage patients attending our regional clinic to bring a family member or friend as it can be a busy day and they will be given lots of information. We hope you will meet several members of the ILD team and will provide you with contact details.

The referral is discussed in an ILD multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting which includes an expert ILD physician, ILD radiologist and ILD Nurse Specialist and when required a pathologist and/or rheumatologist. After this meeting, and if appropriate,  the patient is offered a clinic appointment.  We use a shared care approach, supporting local hospitals in caring for their patients and reducing the frequency of patient visits to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

In addition to support and management of their symptoms and condition, where appropriate, we offer patients clinical trials, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen assessment and lung transplant.

Contact us

Northern services 

There is a telephone helpline for people undergoing tests and treatment for OSAS. This is available Monday - Friday, 8.00 am - 4.00pm on 01271 311600.

Eastern services

You can contact the team on either 01392 402140.


Meet the team

Northern services

Respiratory care clinical nurse specialist: Lynn Greenfield
Sharon Newcombe Tel: 01271 311600.


Eastern services

Respiratory Consultants

  • Dr Patel
  • Dr Bakere
  • Dr Burden
  • Dr Whitehead

Respiratory/Sleep Physiology team

  • Ian Martin – Lead Respiratory/Sleep Physiologist

The team also includes two Senior Physiologists, a Trainee Physiologist and an Assistant Physiologist.


Where to find us

Your healthcare professional will advise where your appointment will take place. Your appointment may take place at one of our outpatient clinics situated within our main hospital sites or within the community.

Clinics may be face to face, via video link or telephone. It is better if we see you face to face for your first appointment.

Northern Services

North Devon District Hospital 

North Devon District Hospital

Raleigh Park



EX31 4JB

Eastern services

RD&E Wonford, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW

Clinical Measurements (Level 2, Area D)

Please note we are unable to offer a walk-in service


Services and treatments

The service provides CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) treatment for patients with moderate or severe sleep apnoea.

Supporting you

Our service has close links with the ILD charities (websites listed above) and various support groups in the region. When attending clinic we provide you with up-to-date information listing these contacts and providing you with information on who to contact when.

The helplines for these charities are:

  • Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis: 01223 785725
  • British Lung Foundation: 03000 030 555
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust: 01543 442191

We are pleased that we have good links with many local respiratory services and we ensure that we copy them in to any letters sent to the GP.

Who to contact when:

  • Exeter ILD phone number: medication, prescriptions and side effects for medication prescribed by ILD team and to chase yearly appointments if required
  • Your local respiratory consultant secretary: for regular local follow-up
  • GP: signs of a chest infection (increase in cough/breathlessness) for antibiotics and medications to treat symptoms / routine blood test appointments unless advised otherwise

Patient information leaflets

We produce a wide range of leaflets which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

We also produce these in different formats including large print, please contact the department you are visiting for more information.

Find out more

Information for healthcare professionals

Referral to Respiratory Medicine

E-Referral Service Selection

Specialty: Sleep Medicine
Clinic Type: Sleep Apnoea/Sleep Disordered Breathing
Service: DRSS-Western-Sleep Medicine-Devon CCG-15N

Last updated: January 19, 2024.