Read our latest advice on Coronavirus (COVID -19)

Rheumatology services

Diagnosing and treating joint, bone and connective tissue diseases 

Please read our frequently asked questions before contacting the department.

Due to increased demand on the hospital due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we are having to make significant changes to our services.

Please do not attend the hospital for your rheumatology appointment. All routine out-patient appointments are being deferred for 12 weeks due to the critical pressures on our service.

All rheumatology appointments are being assessed for immediate need. Infusions and blood tests will be reviewed and will continue if there is immediate need. You will contacted by our service by text message to arrange this.

If we cancel your appointment, you will remain on our waiting list and we will contact you when our service resumes or you may be discharged. We will write to you if this is the case.

For all appointment queries, including blood tests, please email gst-tr.rheumandlupus@nhs.net in the first instance. Please be patient and avoid calling our service if you have access to email to allow those who do not have access to email to get through more quickly, e.g vulnerable or elderly.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice

Patients with chronic inflammatory disease are at greater risk. Please check the list of immunosuppressive medications.

If you are taking any of these you may be considered a high risk patient. Please assess your level of risk. If you consider yourself as high risk you must follow the guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from coronavirus and please read the high risk letter from NHS England (Word 49Kb). You can also register to get help whilst you are shielding at home.

Hydroxychloroquine

There is no current evidence that taking hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine prevents or treats coronavirus infection. If you are taking hydroxychloroquine please continue your usual dose. Do not increase your dose. Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine overdosage may result in heart problems and/or death.  

Hydroxychloroquine is an immunomodulant, not an immunosuppressant drug, and its use does not increase the risk of infection or does not make an infection worse. Hydroxychloroquine needs to be continued if an infection is confirmed.

If you develop symptoms (dry cough, fever, sore muscles or shortness of breath) please follow the guidelines on the NHS 111 website and stop medication temporarily - with the exception of steroids and hydroxychloroquine - until you have recovered. This advice is the same as for any infections.

You can see a list of useful links and frequently asked questions about coronavirus and inflammatory disease.

Nurse telephone appointment booking service

If you're an existing patient, please email the specialist nursing team at gst-tr.rheumatologynurse@nhs.net in the first instance to receive advice or help with:

  • a flare of your condition
  • health advice relating to your condition
  • medicine advice, including side effects.

Please be patient and continue to use this service and only book a telephone appointment if you do not have access to email.

If you do not have access to email please call the telephone helpline on 0207 188 5896 and leave a message. Your call will be handled by the most appropriate member of the team.

This service is only available for patients who have already attended clinic. It is not suitable for new patients.

 

Coronavirus

Please visit the main Trust coronavirus (COVID-19) page for more information. 

Contact us

To book, amend or cancel appointments (including blood tests) in the rheumatology department, please email gst-tr.rheumandlupus@nhs.net in the first instance. Please be patient and continue to use this service and only call if you do not have access to email.

If you do not have access to email please call 020 7188 5900.

Nurse telephone appointment service

If you're an existing patient, please email the specialist nursing team at gst-tr.rheumatologynurse@nhs.net in the first instance to receive advice or help with:

  • a flare of your condition
  • health advice relating to your condition
  • medicines, including any side effects

Please be patient and continue to use this service and only book a telephone appointment if you do not have access to email.

If you do not have access to email please call the telephone helpline on 0207 188 5896 and leave a message. Your call will be handled by the most appropriate member of the team.

This service is only available for patients who have already attended clinic. It is not suitable for new patients.

Access guide

AccessAble, accessibility information about Rheumatology (Tower) and the Louise Coote Lupus Unit

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