Rheumatology

The Rheumatology Team at Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust offer a wide range of services for the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. We care for patients who have, or are suspected of having, one of the 200+ forms of arthritis.

There are more than 200 forms of arthritis, the most common of which can be organised into the following categories:

  • Inflammatory Arthritis (including Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Connective Tissue Disease (including Systemic Lupus Erythematosis, Myositis and Vasculitis)
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Temporal Arteritis.
  • Gout and Pseudogout.

Please note that whilst we see many new patients with osteoarthritis, we do not manage osteoarthritis on an ongoing basis as this is best done by a patient’s GP.

Rheumatology at Harrogate District Hospital

The Rheumatology Team aim to provide a patient-centred service for the diagnosis, management, and treatment of all types of arthritis. Our objective is to assess, diagnose, and treat arthritis in the most appropriate manner for the particular condition and patient.

This often involves a range of different investigations, including blood tests and x-rays. The medical staff and specialist nurses will prescribe specialised medication where appropriate. We also develop tailored treatment plans in conjunction with the Physiotherapy Department. These plans may include special exercises, manual therapy, acupuncture and/or hydrotherapy.

We also provide aids to daily living (such as splints), assess the home/workplace to see if individuals need special equipment and adaptations to enable them to work or live independently.

The Rheumatology Service is led by four consultant rheumatologists who are responsible for your initial assessment and diagnosis, deciding the care that you should receive, the implementation of your care pathway, and reviewing its effectiveness. The consultants are closely supported by doctors, specialist rheumatology nurses, musculoskeletal specialist physiotherapists and occupational therapists, and support staff.

Clinics

We run a number of regular clinics, specialist clinics, and an advice and support telephone helpline. A consultation is an opportunity to discuss your health and treatment with the team and voice any concerns. You will undergo a physical examination and we may weigh you, take your blood pressure, and check a urine sample. You may also be required to have a blood test or an x-ray.

Consultant-led clinics

New patient clinic: during this clinic, new patients are assessed to form an initial diagnosis. Decisions on treatment are made in discussion with the patient. The clinic is held on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

Early arthritis clinic: this clinic is an opportunity for patients with new inflammatory conditions to be assessed by the medical team. If appropriate, treatment will start immediately. The clinic is held on alternate Tuesday mornings.

Injection clinic: patients who require targeted injections into joints are seen here, as well as patients who need an early review. The clinic is held on alternate Tuesday mornings.

Connective tissue clinic: this clinic is for patients with complex health needs related to connective tissue disease, such as lupus, scleroderma, myositis and vasculitis. The clinic is held once a month on Thursday mornings.

Osteoporosis and metabolic bone clinic: this clinic is for patients with osteoporosis and other bone-related problems. The clinic is held once every two months on Friday mornings.

Paediatric combined clinic: this clinic is designed to meet children’s health needs in an environment in which children and their parents feel more comfortable. A multi-disciplinary team, including staff from the regional centre in Leeds, is involved in the clinic. The clinic is held once every three months on Friday mornings.

Biologics clinic: this clinic is run by both nurses and consultants and is designed to ensure that patients receiving biologic treatments are continually assessed and monitored as per National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines (NICE). The clinic is held once a month of Thursday mornings.

Follow-up clinic: patients under the ongoing care of the Rheumatology Team are seen at these clinics, which are held on Thursday mornings and Fridays. Nurses support the consultants with these clinics.

We also run outreach clinics in Ripon and Wetherby

Nurse-led clinics

What to expect:

The nurse will assess your disease activity, ask you about your pain and fatigue levels and how these are impacting on your daily life.

She will also establish if you are tolerating your prescribed rheumatology medications and discuss any side effects. Safety monitoring of drug therapies is a major part of the visit. Any changes to therapy will be discussed and agreed before implementation.

Education about your diagnosis and treatments will be discussed and ways to aid independence and keep active shared. Health education are important aspect of all consultations, please feel free to ask questions and seek advice.

Physiotherapist-led clinics

Spondylitis clinic: this clinic is designed for patients with all forms of spondyloarthropathy (including ankylosing spondylitis, colitis-related and psoriasis-related). The clinic is held once every three months on Thursdays.

Physiotherapy clinic: patients are referred to this clinic for advice and exercises to help manage pain, improve joint movement, strengthen muscles, improve posture, and manage activities of daily living. When necessary joint and soft tissue injections may be used to reduce pain and inflammation, and acupuncture, electrotherapy and hydrotherapy are available if required. The clinic is held in both Ripon and Harrogate.

Fibromyalgia group sessions

Most clinics are held in the Medical Day Unit (MDU), with some held in the Therapy Services Department. The reception staff will direct you to the correct location and the hospital volunteers are here to help you out if you are not sure where to go. We also run clinics in some community locations such as Wetherby, Yeadon, and Ripon.

If you would like more information about our clinics, please do get in touch.

Opening hours

The Rheumatology Department is open between 8.30–17.00, Monday to Friday except for public holidays.

The Physiotherapy Department is open from 7.30 – 6pm Monday to Friday as above.

Referral

We accept referrals from GPs or other hospital departments.

Useful links