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Boost for Rheumatology

16th June 2016

New consultants, new state of the art equipment, new clinics, and a new home – these were all celebrated today when our Rheumatology team held an official opening of their new department on the ground floor of the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

The new location provides much better access for patients, being nearer to main reception, and with all the clinics now provided in the one place, together with podiatry and physiotherapy, the service is well on its way to becoming a ‘one stop clinic’.

The consolidation of services follows the appointment of three new consultants and the purchase of a state of the art ultrasound machine to help improve diagnostic accuracy and patients’ understanding of their condition.

Early Inflammatory Arthritis clinics have been established every week to help reduce time from diagnosis to start of definitive therapy. Patients referred on this dedicated pathway will be seen more quickly in line with nationally agreed timescales. All routine referrals will continue to be triaged based on clinical need.

A dedicated fortnightly Metabolic Bone clinic has also been launched and there is a commitment to providing fast track temporal arteritis pathway in the near future.

A new partial booking system has also been introduced, in response to a patient survey of follow up appointments which highlighted issues such as cancellation and re-booking of appointments. This means that instead of booking a follow-up appointment as soon one is requested, patients are put on a list in order of when they need to be seen. Their appointment is then booked within six weeks of when the clinician has requested to see them. The benefits will be an overall reduction in cancelled appointments, less re-scheduling and lower DNA (did not attend) rates.

Dr Daniel Fishman, lead consultant, said: “We want to provide a first class service which incorporates outpatients, diagnostic testing and therapies and our new location, expanded team and new equipment will mean a much improved experience for our patients.”