Pulmonary rehabilitation has established itself as a key management strategy in people with chronic respiratory disease. The role of pulmonary rehabilitation has recently been highlighted in the Department of Health’s ‘An outcomes strategy for COPD and asthma in England’. Since the BTS statement on pulmonary rehabilitation 2001, there has been a significant expansion in the literature for pulmonary rehabilitation. This literature has contributed to our understanding of outcomes and markers of pulmonary rehabilitation, referral characteristics and patient selection, optimal programme structure, potential adjuncts to the main rehabilitation content, pulmonary rehabilitation in different settings such as following an exacerbation and maintaining the benefits of the programme after completion of the course. The UK model of pulmonary rehabilitation is not fully reflected in the American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society statement while other guidelines referring to pulmonary rehabilitation have either been disease or modality specific. There is a need to provide a UK evidence-based guideline for pulmonary rehabilitation in adult patients with chronic respiratory disease in an outpatient setting.