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​Rheumatology Service

The Rheumatology Service at Dorset County Hospital aims to provide comprehensive and individualised care to patients with a range of rheumatological conditions. We provide outpatient clinics at Dorset County Hospital, Weymouth Community Hospital, Bridport Hospital, Blandford Hospital and at the Yeatman Hospital in Sherborne.

We predominantly provide services for patients in west Dorset, mid Dorset, north Dorset, Weymouth and Portland and Purbeck.

The rheumatology service is consultant led. Each year we see approximately 4,000 patients. More than 160 new patients are referred to us every month. The majority can be diagnosed, started on treatment if necessary and then discharged back to the care of their GP. Some patients do require longer term follow-up, particularly those with autoimmune disease on cytotoxic drug regimes who require careful monitoring and ongoing specialist management.

Range of Services Available

Specialist diagnostic and treatment services for people with all forms of rheumatological conditions. These include: rheumatoid arthritis; the spondyloarthropathies including psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and  reactive arthritis; connective tissue diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogrens syndrome, systemic sclerosis, polymyositis and dermatomysitis; the vasculitidies including giant cell arteritis  (temporal arteritis), polymyalgia rheumatica, Wegener’s granulomatosis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, polyarteritis nodosa, Bechet’s disease and Kawasaki disease; the crystal arthopathies including gout and pseudo gout; metabolic bone diseases including osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, osteomalacia and osteogenesis imperfecta; hereditary diseases of connective tissue such as Marfan’s syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and joint hypermobility syndrome. Whilst the list is not exhaustive, we also see people with fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, Lyme disease, amyloidosis and adult onset Still’s disease.
A telephone advice line service for patients with inflammatory joint disease
A bone densitometry service for the diagnosis of osteoporosis using Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA)
A fracture prevention service for patients over the age of 50 who are either admitted to the wards or seen in the out-patient fracture clinic as the result of a low trauma fracture (‘low trauma’ is defined as a fracture sustained in a fall from a standing height or less)
A day case service in the Day Surgery Unit at Weymouth Community Hospital for minor procedures requiring general anaesthetic.  Procedures performed include multiple small joint injections and nerve blocks.
An ambulatory day case service at Dorset County Hospital for patients to have treatments for inflammatory arthritis and osteoporosis that are given via infusion
A consultancy service for in-patients
A teaching service for trainee GPs and junior doctors

Contact Information

Telephone: 01305 255864 or 01305 255161

To change an appointment however, please ring the number specified on the top of the appointment letter.

Rheumatology Advice Line

Telephone: 01305 255864​

This advice line is for patients concerned about any aspect of their arthritis.  It is to enable you to access help and advice when you need it, as opposed to having to wait for your next clinic appointment. It is not an emergency helpline however. Therefore, if it is an urgent medical problem, please contact your GP.

Useful Links

A wide range of information about specific rheumatological conditions and their treatment can be found by using the website links below:

The Rheumatology Team

Dr Michael Helliwell, FRCP
Consultant Rheumatologist


Mrs Lucy Walton RN
Fracture Prevention Nurse Specialist