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Rheumatology information for patients

Diagnosing and treating joint, bone and connective tissue diseases

Coronavirus: rheumatology services update

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please read our advice and information before attending the service.

  • How do patients get referred?

    Referrals come from GPs, other hospitals or from inpatient referral.

    The team aim to give an appointment to all new patients within two weeks of referral. If you have not heard from the booking team within this time, please call 0207 188 5900. Please also check your contact details the GP holds are correct.

  • Cancelling or changing your appointment

    If you need to rebook your appointment please telephone our booking team on 020 7188 5900 or email

    We would appreciate if you could give us as much notice as possible when changing your appointment.  This will allow us to offer another patient in need, the opportunity to be seen earlier.

    We have an average 6-8 week wait for appointments.

    Failing to attend means we are not using our staff effectively and other patients are waiting longer.

  • Before your appointment

    Check your appointment details and plan your journey to the hospital. For more information please visit

    If you can, it's a good idea to bring a list of medications you are taking with you to the appointment. It may also be helpful to bring a list of questions that you’d like to ask your healthcare professional so you get the most out of your appointment.

    If you need an interpreter or signer and one wasn’t booked when you arranged your appointment, please call 020 7188 8815 or email

  • What to expect at your appointment

    We understand that it is difficult to fit medical appointments into a busy life. To give you an idea of how long your appointment may take, you may be in our department for up to 120 minutes in total.

    At your appointment you will be welcomed by our receptionist who will check you in. You may be seen by a nurse and have a blood test and some observations taken (these could include pulse, blood pressure, weight and urine tests). This can take place before or after you are seen by the doctor.  

    Patients are allocated approximately thirty minutes for a new appointment and twenty minutes for a follow up appointment. However, the doctor or nurse may decide during the appointment that the patient in front requires more or less time depending on their condition and will accommodate this. This has an impact on waiting times meaning that you may not be seen at the exact appointment time stated on this letter. The clinic team aim, however, for all patients to be seen within an hour of the stated appointment time.

  • After your appointment

    A letter will be sent to your GP detailing all the tests and results and you will also receive a copy of this.

 Useful links

  • National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society – for information on all forms of axial spondyloarthritis (including ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis), what it is, how it’s managed and living with the condition. It can help you find local support groups in your area and its helpline (020 8741 1515) provides callers with up-to-date information, work support and help people understand more about the disease and the treatments available.
  • Arthritis Research UK – leading charity in arthritis research and information.
  • Mindfulness leaflet (PDF 136Kb) – a short guide to mindfulness for people living with a long-term health condition.

Contact us

To book, amend or cancel appointments (including blood tests) in the rheumatology department, please call 020 7188 5900.