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What to expect when you attend the rheumatology clinic

The Outpatient Department is a busy place, with clinics running for a wide range of specialties, including rheumatology. There are also likely to be a number of different rheumatology clinics running simultaneously.

The Outpatient Nurses and Patient Service Assistants work together with the Rheumatology Team to ensure your visit is as smooth as possible.

On your arrival in the Outpatient Department you should approach the front desk and will be greeted by a Patient Service Assistant who will seat you in the appropriate clinic area. Following this the Outpatient Nurse assigned to your clinic may take your blood pressure, weight and height and you may be asked to provide a urine specimen for testing.

At the time of your appointment the Doctor or Specialist Nurse will call you into their consulting room.

You should expect to receive a clinical assessment which will usually include a range of questions and a physical examination. You may be asked to fill in a questionnaire related to your condition.

We work as a team and so you may see the Consultant, Specialist Nurse or other members of the medical or nursing staff, and this person may be different at each clinic visit, although we do try to limit this as much as possible. There may also be a medical or nursing students present as these clinics are an important part of their education.

Whilst we will try our best to keep to time, some consultations can take longer than expected, so there may be delays to your appointment time.

Further tests, for example a blood test or an x-ray may be suggested during your consultation and usually can take place after your appointment. This may add to the length of time you are at the hospital.

In some circumstances the Doctor or Specialist Nurse may recommend administering a therapeutic injection either into a joint or an intramuscular injection which may be given by the Outpatient Nurse.

We understand that sometimes it is difficult to recall all the information provided to you during your consultation, so we have a range of written material and information leaflets and resources available in the clinic area that the staff may give to you or you can help yourself.

If you need to make a further appointment this can be done at the front desk on leaving the department.

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Visiting cancelled

Due to the increasing number of cases of coronavirus across the UK, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has made the decision to cancel all visiting to all its hospital sites in order to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

There are three exemptions to the ruling which are for one parent of a sick child under 18, for the partner of a woman giving birth and end of life patients at the discretion of the ward sister.

We would ask people to respect this decision and to treat our staff, who will be enforcing the visiting restrictions, with courtesy and respect.  For more information visit our website.


Outpatient appointments

We know that NHS services will come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and as a Trust we need to redirect staff, free up staff for refresher training and carry out any works as necessary, so we are able to maximise capacity for patients for when the number of infections peak.  We also need to reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals to protect our patients, as well as keeping our staff safe, well and able to come into work.

To do this, with effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020, along with other trusts in the Humber Coast and Vale partnerships, we have made the collective decision to suspend all non-urgent routine outpatient appointments for at least three months.  Urgent and emergency cases and cancer appointments will be carrying on as normal.

These are unprecedented times and we thank you for your understanding.  We know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried but please not contact the hospital as we will be contacting everyone directly affected in the coming days and weeks.

If you do not receive a letter or a phone call from the hospital, please turn up for your scheduled appointment as normal unless you have symptoms of coronavirus, a cold, flu or norovirus in which case you should contact us to cancel your appointment by clicking here.


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have symptoms associated with coronavirus including a new continuous cough and a high temperature, you are advised to stay at home for 7 days.

Please do not book a GP appointment or attend your GP practice.

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.  After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.

But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they're at home for longer than 14 days. The most up-to-date public guidance is always online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do.  Only call 111 direct if you are advised to do so by the online service or you cannot go online.