Service category: Medicine and emergency care

Service location(s): East Surrey Hospital

Our Rheumatology professionals provide therapy and support to patients with a range of clinical issues. Typically, these include joints and soft tissues, but also autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, connective tissue disorders and osteoporosis.

Our research continues to confirm the importance of the immune system in treating these conditions. As a result, rheumatology is increasingly the study of immunology.

How we are helping our patients

From June 2020, we have a new voice message helpline for existing patients. If you need advice relating to your rheumatology treatment, you can now record a message on the helpline at any time and we will aim to contact you within 24 -72 Hours. Helpline Number -01737926346

Please note: This is not a phone line to check appointments. That number remains: 01737 768511 *8630

If you are not an existing patient, but believe you have a new condition relating to rheumatology, please contact your GP who will refer you to us, if necessary.


COVID-19 Advice from the British Society of Rheumatology (BSR)

COVID-19 – current rheumatology guidelines letter

We are conscious of the concerns many of you have regarding Coronavirus. To help support you, we have included a summary of the latest advice from the British Society of Rheumatology [BSR]. We’ll update this section of the page as often we can, but for the absolute latest advice, please visit The British Society for Rheumatology website.

  • Some rheumatology patients – particularly those on steroids and biologics – will be immunosuppressed and are therefore considered ‘high-risk’. However, all patients including all those aged 16 or under, should continue to take their medication unless directed to do otherwise by their rheumatology team. Please remember patients on long-term glucocorticoids (steroids, prednisolone) should not stop these abruptly.
  • If patients develop symptoms of any infection, established practice will be followed and immunosuppressive therapy paused for the duration of the infection and until they feel well, in consultation with their rheumatology team. This would include methotrexate, leflunomide, azathioprine, mycophenolate, and all the biologic medications. For those on glucocorticoids (steroids, prednisolone), the expectation is that treatment should not be stopped abruptly, and advice should be sought from their treating team. 

You can also find more information on the www.versusarthritis.org, where you can call Versus arthritis free Helpline on 0800 5200 520 or email helpline@versusarthritis.org.
Patients can contact the Rheumatology Nurses on sash.outpatientreferrals@nhs.net. or the rheumatology Nurses Helpline on 01737 926346. 

Download the early inflammatory arthiritis referral form.

Rheumatology: connecting the dots

Rheumatic disease doesn’t just affect the joints. Our consultants work closely with their colleagues in orthopaedics, ophthalmology, neurology, ENT, thoracic and renal medicine to ensure your treatment plan is as joined up and comprehensive as possible.

There are over 200 types of rheumatic diseases. Our rheumatology team offers a service of treatment to include rheumatoid, psoriatic and reactive arthritis, connective tissue disorders such as lupus (SLE), scleroderma and Sjögrens syndromevasculitis (including Wegener’s granulomatosis, polyarteritis nodosa, giant cell/temporal arteritis and Behçets syndrome), polymyalgia rheumaticaosteoporosisankylosing spondylitis and gout

We accept referrals in to our Fracture Liaison Service for patients over 50 who may have suffered a fragility fracture. The team will assess, start treatment where appropriate and offer advice and information to help you keep your bones healthy.

We sometimes refer patients to orthopaedic surgeons if treatment is needed, such as joint replacement. However, in recent years, better management of rheumatic disease has meant a reduction in the number of patients needing surgery. We also have close links with the extended scope physiotherapy services.

Our outpatient clinics are held on several sites: East Surrey Hospital, Crawley Hospital, Horsham Hospital, Caterham Dene Hospital and Oxted Health Centre. We also see some patients from the East Grinstead area.

The rheumatology team and their patients are actively involved in clinical trials and research, both nationally and multi-nationally. Clinical trials ensure not only best quality clinical care but also patient access to the most up to date treatments.

Our clinical trials include:

  • How best to mange the early stages of arthritis
  • Regular and ongoing contributions to the British Society for Rheumatology Rheumatoid Arthritis Register (BSRBR-RA) which is the largest prospective register in the world of rheumatology patients receiving biologic therapy.
  • How to monitor the long-term safety profile of the biologic agents used
  • ACTION Clinical Trial: a global study comparing anti-TNFα inhibitors with Tocilizumab as the first biologic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatology nurse specialists

  • Lynne Abudy
  • Lisa Bryant
  • Maria Hewer
  • Divya Thomas

Osteoporosis nurse specialist

T: 01737 768 511 x2835

Young patients with suspected rheumatoid disease should be referred by their GP to the paediatricians, who may then refer onwards to paediatric rheumatologists at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

In emergency cases GPs can contact a Rheumatology consultant via the acute Rheumatology bleep during the day, Monday to Friday.

Out of hours, emergency Rheumatology patients are seen by the Emergency Department or Orthopaedics.

Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) Management Pathway