Rheumatology

*FOR INFORMATION ABOUT PATIENT INITIATED FOLLOW-UP IN RHEUMATOLOGY, PLEASE SELECT FROM THE GREEN DROP DOWN LIST BENEATH THIS INTRODUCTION*

We are a multidisciplinary team consisting of Consultant Rheumatologists, Specialist registrars training in Rheumatology, Specialist Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Podiatrists.

We provide treatment and continuing care for a range of inflammatory rheumatic diseases including:

  • inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis
  • gout and pseudogout
  • connective tissue diseases, such as SLE (lupus) and Sjogren's syndrome (inflammation of the eye glands)
  • temporal arteritis (inflammation of the arteries) and polymyalgia rheumatica (inflammation in muscles around the shoulders, neck and hips)
  • vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
  • myositis (muscle inflammation)

We also run an osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease service.

Consultant Rheumatologists

  • Dr Carolyn Bell
  • Dr Raluca Ionescu
  • Dr Chris Marguerie
  • Dr Sonia Panchal
  • Dr Tracey Toms
  • Dr Bhavisha Vasta

Senior Trust Doctor

  • Dr Peter Hutchinson

Rheumatology Nurse Specialists

  • Emily Archer
  • Fran Chilton
  • Alan Davidson
  • Joanne Lennon

Rheumatology Appointments

Our outpatient clinics are held at Warwick and Stratford Hospitals.

All new patient appointments other than for the osteoporosis clinic will be face to face.

Follow up appointments may be by telephone or face to face depending on the clinical circumstances and you will be advised of the appointment type on the appointment letter.

Every effort will be taken for telephone consultations to run to time. If your appointment is delayed we will aim to call you within 1 hour of your appointment time.

For telephone appointments, you may receive a call from a 'private number' or 'unknown number', so please disable any functions on your mobile phone which block these calls.

Contact number for appointments queries: 01926 600036

Rheumatology Advice Line for Existing Patients

If you need to contact the department for clinical advice please contact the rheumatology advice line. This advice line is not answered by clinical staff and therefore they will not be able to give immediate medical advice. A member of the clinical team will contact you as quickly as possible but please be aware this may not be the same day.

Please note the Rheumatology advice line service can help you manage your joint symptoms or answer questions about your arthritis medications. For all other medical concerns please contact your GP as we will not be able to advise.

Advice line number: 01926 963023 (line is open 06:00 to 12:00 noon, please leave a message and a nurse will call you back within one working day).

Ordering Prescriptions for Rheumatology Medications

If you obtain you prescription for your medications from the rheumatology department then please e mail us with your request:

swg-tr.requestprescriptions@nhs.net

If you cannot or prefer not to use email, please telephone the Prescriptions number 01926 963907 which comes into use from 18/10/2021 (line open 09:30 to 16:30, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).

For those patients receiving home delivery of their biologic medications, other telephone numbers that may be helpful include:

§ Healthcare at Home 0333 1039499

§ Lloyds Pharmacy Clinical Homecare 0345 263 6148

Blood Test Monitoring

If you have blood tests taken at the hospital then you will need to book an appointment which can be made at www.swft.nhs.uk/our-services/adult-hospital-servic...

For patients living out of area (and therefore the blood results are not automatically available to us) please could we request that you telephone 01926 963907 once you have had a blood test performed so we can contact your GP for the results.

Patient Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU)

N.B. Please be aware that from 18/10/2021 the prescriptions telephone number is 01926 963907 (line open 09:30 to 16:30, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).


What is Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU)?

Patient Initiated Follow Up is part of a national plan for specially selected patients with inflammatory arthritis such as Rheumatoid (RA), Psoriatic (PsA) or Axial Spondyloarthritis (AS/Ax-SpA) that have had stable disease and are on established medications prescribed by the rheumatology team at the hospital.

Patient Initiated Follow Up describes when a patient (or their carer) can initiate their follow-up appointments as and when required, e.g. when symptoms or circumstances change. As well as giving patients timely access to support, this avoids unnecessary routine ‘check in’ appointments when your Inflammatory Arthritis is stable and your blood monitoring is entirely satisfactory.

Patient Initiated Follow Up makes it easier and more convenient for you to receive care and support when you need it, while avoiding unnecessary trips to hospitals and clinics, saving you time, money and stress. It helps empower you to manage your own condition and plays a key role in enabling shared decision-making and supported self-management in line with your personal set of circumstances, for example living abroad for part of the year or in another part of the UK.

When should I get in contact between appointments?

This is not an Emergency Service (e.g. medical emergency, other non-rheumatology problems)

But, it is for you to use if you are worried about any of the following problems:

  • If you have a ‘flare-up’ of your symptoms and these have not responded to your usual self-help treatments and you feel that you need further advice.
  • If you are experiencing side effects that you think may be caused by the medication prescribed for your arthritis.
  • If you experience an adverse reaction to a treatment given at the rheumatology clinic.
  • If you have been asked by one of the rheumatology team to report on your progress.
  • If you have any urgent worries or concerns about your inflammatory arthritis that cannot wait until your next appointment.

How do I make contact?

Please call the advice line on 01926 963023 (line is open 06:00 to 12:00 noon, please leave a message and a nurse will call you back within one working day).

What happens if I am feeling well?

You will simply have an annual review with an appropriate clinician.

What can I expect from Patient Initiated Follow Up?

  • An annual review with a clinically-trained member of the rheumatology team.
  • A telephone call-back by the end of the next working day in a flare of your Inflammatory Arthritis.
  • Quality of care – there will be Patient Initiated Follow Up clinic slots available each week if you need to see someone and your query cannot be dealt with over the telephone.
  • Communication with your General Practitioner when we make any changes to your treatment plan.
  • Remember, you can ‘opt-out’ at any time from Patient Initiated Follow-Up.

What do we need from you?

Regular blood tests as directed in clinic for your particular set of treatments.

Attendance at your annual review appointment (this will usually be alternating with your Consultant Rheumatologist and Senior Nurse Specialist).

Tell us when you are having a flare of your Inflammatory Arthritis once you have followed the self-management guidance that has been provided in clinic or viewed online.

What about my quality of care?

Your quality of care is important to us. We pride ourselves on our ‘Outstanding’ rating by the Care Quality Commission and we strive to retain it. Patient Initiated Follow Up is here to ensure that your care is more tailored and bespoke to you but within a framework that still meets the standards of care set out by the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) and Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) for your Inflammatory Arthritis.

Contact information

Changing Rheumatology Outpatient Appointments

Please telephone – 01926 600 036

Changing Rheumatology Day Case Treatment Appointments

Please telephone – 01926 495 321 ext 4922

Contacting other departments

Please telephone the hospital main switchboard on 01926 495 321 and then ask for the relevant department.

To find out more about Patient Initiated Follow-Up, there are two videos that you can access here. You will need to enter the password video2021 to access this page. The videos sit alongside a number of others and it is the sixth and seventh videos that talk about PIFU specifically.

Covid-19 Updates

Covid 19 Updates

Statement on Covid vaccinations relevant to Rheumatology patients – 9 September 2021

Third dose vaccination

Current JCVI advice is that a third vaccine should be offered to individuals aged 12 years or over who are on biologic treatment, DMARD treatment such as methotrexate (but not sulfasalazine or hydroxychloroquine alone) or on prednisolone 10mg daily or more.

We do not yet know how or when the Government plans to roll out the third Dose vaccinations but we anticipate that when it is your turn you will be contacted to make an appointment.

  • Biologics/targeted therapies
    1. JAK- inhibitors (tofacitinib, baricitinib, upadacitinib, filgotinib)
    2. Rituximab
    3. Anti TNF drugs (adalimumab, etancercept, infliximab, golimumab, certolizumab)
    4. IL-6 inhibitors (tocilizumab, sarilumab)
    5. Abatacept
    6. Anakinra

  • DMARDs
    1. Methotrexate
    2. Leflunomide
    3. Mycophenolate
    4. Azathioprine

Please note that sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine are NOT included in this list.

Vaccination of household contacts of clinically extremely vulnerable individuals

The JCVI has changed its advice regarding the vaccination of household contacts who are children. Household contacts aged between 12-15 are now eligible for primary vaccination.

This vaccination is being coordinated by GP practices, so we recommend you contact your GP surgery to check eligibility and local vaccination arrangements.

Will the third dose be effective?

Some Rheumatology patients are immunosuppressed due to their underlying condition or the medications they are on. Trials are ongoing to investigate the effectiveness of vaccines in an immunosuppressed population. It is thought that vaccine effectiveness is only modestly reduced in an immunosuppressed population and that a third dose of vaccine does have a good effect. Not all immunosuppressed patients will respond to the third vaccine but we currently do not have the data to identify who might, or might not benefit from the third vaccine.

Further advice in relation to Covid-19

The most up to date reliable health information can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and https://www.nhs.uk/

The latest advice specifically for rheumatology patients can be found at

https://www.versusarthritis.org/covid-19-updates/

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