Consultant Respiratory
and General Physician in London

Dr Michael Beckles BSc (Hons) MB ChB FRCP is a Consultant Respiratory and General Physician at the Royal Free Hospital in London

In addition to his NHS work, Michael also has an active private practice and sees UK and international private patients at a number of leading private clinics in London. He treats patients with all manner of respiratory and general medical complaints, and is a skilled fibre-optic bronchoscopist.

Michael completed his undergraduate studies in Medicine at the University of Manchester where he won several undergraduate prizes, including an MRC Scholarship for his Intercalated Degree in Pharmacology and Physiology. Following postgraduate training in the teaching and district general hospitals surrounding Manchester and London, Michael was appointed Consultant Physician at the Royal Free Hospital in 2001.

In addition to participating in the acute on-call rota for medicine, he has developed specialist interests in lung cancer and sarcoidosis.

Do you have any of these common respiratory issues?


Breathlessness is a common symptom, and can be seen in several medical conditions. Dr Beckles believes that the history and examination are the essential start points for the assessment of breathlessness.

Causes of breathlessness include respiratory and cardiac causes.

During the history-taking, Dr Beckles will assess you to find out whether the breathlessness is acute or chronic, and look for pointers towards the diagnosis (such as airway problems; problems related to medication or metabolic disorders; problems related to lifestyle, such as smoking; recent hospitalisation; infections; or those related to social or environmental contacts). This is not an exhaustive list. In addition, the examination may highlight neuromuscular problems that may contribute to the symptom of breathlessness. In addition, Dr Beckles will request blood tests to check that you are not anaemic, and he may request further testing, such as a heart trace or electrocardiogram (ECG), an echocardiogram, imaging, for example a chest X-ray or CT scan, and lung function tests.

If necessary, Dr Beckles will arrange for you to see another specialist if the cause of breathlessness is outside his area of expertise (for example, a Haematologist).

New or persistent cough

Coughing is a common respiratory symptom. Dr Beckles sees a large number of patients who are concerned by their cough. Indeed, there has recently been a Government campaign encouraging patients to seek medical attention if they have a cough that lasts for longer than three weeks as this could be considered as a persistent cough.

Cough is classified as either acute, sub-acute or chronic. Common causes of a cough include post-nasal drip, asthma, indigestion, viral infections, drugs and interstitial lung disease. Serious causes of cough include malignancy.

Dr Beckles will endeavour to take a full history, to include details regarding your smoking history, exposure to pets, history of allergy, the nature of your occupation, and possible exposure to industrial materials.

Coughing up blood (haemoptysis)

Haemoptysis is the medical term for coughing up blood and Dr Beckles often sees patients who are concerned about the coughing up of blood.

This, of course, is a worrying symptom. It can range from blood-stained sputum to the presence of frank blood without any sputum. There are a long list of causes for this, and Dr Beckles will take a history and examine you fully to ascertain the cause. The causes of this symptom range from benign causes, such as gum or nose bleeding, to infection, systemic problems, such as inflammatory conditions, cardiac causes, drug treatments and malignancy.

In addition to the history, Dr Beckles will examine you and request some bedside, laboratory and imaging tests to ascertain the cause.

In addition to the above issues, Dr Michael Beckles sees patients with a variety of acute respiratory and general medical problems, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Lung cancer screening and diagnosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Management of pneumothorax (collapsed lung)

Michael is currently the Chair of the Wellington Hospital Respiratory Group and the Co-Chair of the Harley Street Clinic Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Meeting (MDM). He has previously held clinical leadership positions in acute medicine, bronchoscopy, and lung cancer. Actively involved in the teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates, Michael contributes to national and international guidelines on the management of lung cancer.

He is listed as a Premier Consultant for BUPA members and was named one of the top four respiratory physicians in the 2013 Tatler Guide to Private Practice in the United Kingdom.