Patients and Visitors
Following the announcement by the Prime Minister that the public are being asked to avoid non-essential contact with other people, we have taken the decision that all non-urgent outpatient appointments will be switched to telephone or another non face-to-face method, e.g. online or they will be postponed.
We will be contacting patients over the coming days to rearrange or postpone appointments. However, please continue to attend appointments unless you are notified by us. If you cannot attend because you are self-isolating or do not want to attend, please inform us.
We apologise for the inconvenience this causes but the safety of our patients must remain a top priority and it is important to ensure we fully comply with the actions taken by government to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
If patients are worried we would ask them to please call the number of your appointment letter.
For Rheumatology specific guidance during COVID-19, please visit our Patient Information page.
Our department specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of rheumatological conditions such as inflammatory arthritis, connective tissue disease and osteoporosis.
We are mainly an outpatient based service but offer our expertise to other specialties within the hospital and see patients on the wards.
Our team comprises of Consultants, Middle Grades (a registrar and clinical fellow), nurses, health care assistants, physiotherapists (including hydrotherapy), occupational therapists, a pharmacist, secretarial and administrative staff and a research team. Please click on “Meet the Team” to learn about our staff members and their roles.
Our clinics see both new referrals and follow up patients with a dedicated early arthritis clinic where patients with new inflammatory arthritis get an extensive work up in a “one stop shop” seeing the doctor, nurse and occupational therapist on the same day and, if required, an ultrasound scan. Our other specialised clinics include:
• A young adult clinic
• An acute clinic were we see new patients suspected of having Giant Cell Arteritis
• A lower limb combined clinic with our Orthopaedic Colleagues
• A combined clinic with Dermatology
• Two joint injection clinics per week on site
• An osteoporosis clinic
The majority of our clinics are conducted at Derriford Hospital but with our ever expanding service we also have clinics in the wider community at Tavistock, Liskeard, Launceston (temporarily suspended) and Kingsbridge. We are able to offer face to face appointments for all new patients and some follow-up appointments; and telephone or video consultations for other follow ups. If your clinician confirms your appointment does not need to be face to face you may ask,or will be asked, if you would like a telephone or video consultation. If you choose to have a video consultation, please check via this link https://www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk/videoconsult that you will be able to use the system ahead of your next appointment.
As well as our clinic services, we run an infusion service in our Orthopaedic and Rheumatology Outpatient Department (Modular build in Car Park F). We provide these services for a variety of patients needing biologic therapy, bone protection, steroids or iloprost infusions for Raynaud’s.
We were one of the first trusts to roll out a patient initiated access scheme called “Direct Access” to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This system allows patients more control over their condition and allows them to contact us for advice and appointments when they need it most, saving them travel and seeing the doctor or nurse when they are feeling well. Please use the following link to find out more about the Direct Access Service.
All our existing patients can contact us our Nurses Advice Line or email at any time. This system allows patients to leave a message on our answerphone and our nursing staff getting back in touch with patients within one or two working days in response to their query.