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 and Weymouth Community Hospital currently.
We predominantly provide services for patients in West Dorset, Mid Dorset, North Dorset, Weymouth and Portland and Purbeck, working closely with Poole General Hospital and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital.
The rheumatology service is consultant-led and 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 treatment, particularly those with autoimmune disease on cytotoxic drug regimes, who require careful monitoring and ongoing specialist management.
Range of Services Available
We provide a range of 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 dermatomyositis, Mixed connective Tissue Disease.
- 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 Marfans syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and joint hypermobility syndrome
Whilst the list is not exhaustive, we also see people with:
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Septic arthritis
- Lyme disease
- Adult onset Still's disease
The department also offers:
- 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) within the Radiology Department
- A highly specialist pharmacist to advise on rheumatology medications, provide Biologic review clinics and issue prescriptions.
- Practitioner led Arthritis review clinics
- A Fracture Liaison 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)
- 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
Fracture Liaison Service
(FLS) systematically identifies treats and refers eligible patients aged over 50 years within a local population who have suffered a fragility fracture, with the aim of reducing their risk of subsequent fractures.
As 50% of people who experience a hip fracture have broken a bone in the past, FLS represents an ideal opportunity for intervention in the journey to avert that hip fracture. Risk of further fracture in patients can then be minimized through appropriate use of medical treatments, supplements and simple changes to lifestyle to improve bone health. Risk of falls, which can lead to fracture, can also be reduced through use of evidence-based interventions.
Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) : 01305 255516
Secretary Team: 01305 253753
To change an appointment, please ring the number specified on the top of the appointment letter.
Rheumatology Advice Line: 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.
A wide range of information about specific rheumatological conditions and their treatment can be found by using the website links below:
- National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
- Arthritis Research UK
- Arthritis Care
- The Psoriasis Association
- The National Ankylosing Spondylitis Association
- British Sjogrens Syndrome Association
- The Raynaud's and Scleroderma Association
- Lupus UK
- The National Osteoporosis Society
- Osteoporosis Dorset
- Paget's Association
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)