The Rheumatology Department is primarily based at Hillingdon Hospital with additional clinics undertaken at Mount Vernon Hospital.

The specialist team of consultants and nurses has a wide range of experience in treating all forms of rheumatological conditions affecting adults and adolescents. These include common conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, as well as less common conditions such as SLE (lupus), systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) and vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels).

The department runs both consultant and specialist nurse-led clinics in order to provide our patients with the highest quality of care. The department also runs research clinics and participates in research studies in order to further improve treatment for patients in the future.

We work closely with our colleagues in the rest of the hospital in order to optimise our patients care. We work particularly closely with colleagues in the radiology, pharmacy, orthopaedic, physiotherapy and dermatology departments.

As well as seeing patients in outpatient clinics, we also review patients who have been admitted to hospital with rheumatological problems and give advice on additional treatment strategies. We provide diagnostic and therapeutic joint and soft tissue injections and joint aspirations for our outpatients and inpatients.

The team


Department of Rheumatology
01895 279682
Dr Sameen Akhtar
Consultant Rheumatologist
Ajay Bhatia
Consultant Rheumatologist
Dr S Woodham
Consultant Rheumatologist

Nursing team

The rheumatology nurse specialists are involved in patient education, looking after the physical, emotional, and social needs of people with arthritis, running the telephone helpline, monitoring drug treatments and monitoring disease activity.
There are a number of clinics where you will see a nurse rather than a doctor, these clinics are designed to educate patients regarding:

  • The disease process and treatment options
  • Specific disease modifying drugs and the monitoring requirements
  • How to administer certain drugs
  • How to manage a disease flare
  • How to cope with an unpredictable disease

Rheumatology Nurse Specialist

Lorraine Gorham and Roda Joahill

Rheumatology clinics

Most of the patients seen in the rheumatology department will be seen in general rheumatology clinics where patients are assessed and treated for all rheumatological conditions.

Before your appointment

Please follow the instructions on the appointment letter and remember to bring:

  • List of your usual medication
  • Blood monitoring booklet (If you have one)

If English is not your primary language:
If this is your first visit to the department, please ask your GP to arrange an interpreter or bring an adult with you who can be your interpreter
If this is a follow-up visit, please ask reception in the rheumatology clinic to book an interpreter for your next visit or bring an adult with you who can be your interpreter.

What happens on arrival at the department?

Please be aware that we run rheumatology clinics at two hospitals: The Elderly Day Hospital at Hillingdon Hospital and Main Outpatients at Mount Vernon Hospital

Therefore, please check your appointment letter for the correct location of your appointment

Once you’ve arrived at the department

Please inform reception of your arrival. Your details will be checked and you will be asked to take a seat in the waiting area. The nursing team may call you and check your weight, blood pressure and urine if necessary.

Your medical notes will be reviewed by the nursing team to ensure your most recent blood results and/or x-rays are available.You will then be asked to take a seat and the doctor or nurse specialist will call you in time order.

Your appointment will be with the consultant rheumatologist or nurse specialist. The consultants and nurses provide teaching clinics and sometimes medical students, nursing students or junior doctors may be present in the consulting rooms for teaching purposes.

During your appointment

Option 1

  • Please bring a list of all your medication with you (prescribed and over-the-counter)
  • Please speak to your GP if you need an interpreter to be with you for your appointment
  • You may have a physical examination during your clinic visit and therefore may be asked to undress
  • You may be asked to provide a urine sample for testing in clinic
  • You may be weighed and have your blood pressure checked during your clinic visit
  • You may be asked to have blood tests and X-Rays done after your clinic visit
  • You may be asked to participate in a research study during your clinic visit
  • If you are attending for a first appointment in the Rheumatology Department this will normally last up to 30 minutes.

Option 2

  • The doctor will ask you questions about your current complaint and also ask about any other medical history you may have, the medication you are taking, any relevant family history and cigarette and alcohol use, when appropriate. A general examination may be performed and it may be necessary for you to undress to your undergarments so that all systems can be examined. A chaperone will always be available.
  • The doctor will then discuss their impression with you and outline any investigations that are necessary. Sometimes an intervention can be performed on the day such as a joint or tendon injection and at other times a further follow up appointment may be organised.
  • We have a wide range of literature available on rheumatological conditions and the drugs that we use. These may be issued to you at the end of your consultation.
  • Please feel free to ask any questions or raise any concerns during your appointment.
  • A follow up appointment may last up to 15 minutes
  • Please be aware that although we endeavour to see patients at their appointed time, sometimes our clinics run late due to unforeseen circumstances. Your patience is appreciated in these circumstances.
  • Please note that if you are late for your clinic appointment by more than 15 minutes, you may not be seen and your appointment will be rescheduled.
  • You may be asked to participate in a research study during your clinic visit. You do not have to participate in any research studies, but your participation would be greatly appreciated. Your treatment will not be affected if you decide against taking part in a research study.

Following your appointment

  • You may need to start new medication following your appointment. You will usually be given a prescription which will be dispensed by the hospital pharmacy. You will generally be issued with a four-week supply of medication and will need to obtain further prescriptions from your GP.
  • Sometimes conditions will not require further follow-up from the rheumatology team and if this is the case you will be discharged back to the care of your own GP.
  • Where necessary, a further appointment will be arranged before you leave the department.