Papworth Heroes

John Shneerson

Consultant Physician
Leading figure in respiratory and sleep medicine - instrumental in setting up the Respiratory Support and Sleep Centre.

Since his appointment in 1980 as consultant physician at Papworth Hospital, where he was interviewed by colleagues including Ben Milstein, Dr Shneerson has had a fascinating mixture of roles which has seen him at the forefront of respiratory and then sleep medicine in the UK.

He has combined an extensive clinical practice with an active role in several national and international committees and policy-forming bodies, including the Presidency of the British Sleep Society. Dr Shneerson has written four medical text books and has contributed to over 400 publications.

At Papworth, he is best known for his instrumental role in setting up the Respiratory Support and Sleep Centre (RSSC) which he directed for over 30 years. He was a key figure in the creation of this dynamic service, overseeing five extensions as it became the most rapidly growing area of medicine at Papworth Hospital. The RSSC is now the largest unit of its kind in Europe and operates with a multi-skilled team, treating all types of sleep disorder and respiratory failure due to neurological and chest wall disorders, chronic lung disease and obesity.

Initially he developed negative pressure ventilation techniques but became one of the first in the UK to use nasal ventilation and CPAP and pioneered diaphragmatic pacing and transtracheal oxygen.

Dr Shneerson introduced the highly successful progressive care programme for 'unweanable' patients in intensive care units and the nationally recognised centre for adults with Ataxia Telangiectasia.