What does this service provide?

The service provides: 

  • rheumatology education and pathways to support primary care 
  • advice and guidance to primary care colleagues and patients 
  • triage of referrals before they are booked into the service and clinics 
  • assessment of patients to understand symptoms, history, test results, access to diagnostics 
  • diagnosis of rheumatology conditions  based on the assessment of the patient 
  • treatments and management appropriate for patients diagnosed with a rheumatology condition 

Who we are 

We are a MDT service consisting of consultants, specialist rheumatology therapists, clinical nurse specialists and pharmacists. 

Rheumatology consultants, clinical nurse specialists, and rheumatology practitioners, are trained members of the multidisciplinary team who have specialist experience in looking after your rheumatology needs, or issues arising from your condition. We participate in comprehensive disease management to control disease activity, to reduce your symptoms and improve your wellbeing.  This can include education, medication management, prescribing medication, joint injections, requesting investigations, referring you to onward services and signposting you to further information. We support you to self-manage your condition for a better outcome. 

We also deal with any rheumatology advice line queries. 

What we do 

We work together with patients to help control the inflammatory process, relieve pain, maintain joint function, and promote self-management and a healthy quality of life. 

We offer a holistic, patient focused, multi-disciplinary service to all patients with a rheumatology condition. 

We see patients with over 200 different types of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, connective tissue diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, giant cell arteritis, polymyalgia rheumatica and vasculitis including Wegener’s granulomatosis and scleroderma. 

Many of these conditions are lifelong and will require regular treatments and hospital appointments, but our aim is always to control disease activity in order for you to carry on with life as normal. Central goals are to prevent disability and maintain function, by controlling your symptoms as much as possible.

We also provide an osteoporosis service which looks at treatment options and managing this condition, including through diet and exercise and a dedicated Day Case Unit for intravenous, subcutaneous, and intramuscular injections. 

Self-management is key to managing all rheumatology conditions and flare management is often very individual. 

To help flare management we advise: 

  • taking prescribed drugs regularly 
  • the use of analgesia (pain relief) 
  • rest, gentle exercise and relaxation 
  • hot and cold packs 
  • if symptoms persist after a few days please contact the telephone advice line 

Occupational therapy 

Occupational Therapy (OT) aims to help people who have difficulty with their everyday work, home or leisure activities because of illness or disability. Rheumatology OTs have specialist knowledge in dealing with problems caused by arthritis and related pain conditions. We will work with you to find solutions to these difficulties, aiming to help you to carry on as independently as possible with your daily activities.

Occupational therapy can help you manage your condition in a number of ways.  We may address some of these points in your appointment, depending on your condition and personal circumstances: 

  • give advice on using your joints without straining them – joint protection
  • assess for splints to support your joints while working and/or resting
  • make recommendations on gadgets and equipment to help you with tasks at home and work
  • recommend exercises to improve hand and wrist movements and grip
  • give advice on planning, adapting and balancing daily activities with rest to reduce symptoms such as fatigue and pain
  • give advice on relaxation techniques
  • provide help and advice on coping physically and emotionally with the changes your condition may bring
  • make onwards referrals to groups run in the hospital and the community teams as appropriate.


Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. 

Patients are assessed through questions and physical assessment and an individualised treatment programme is developed in conjunction with you. 

Physiotherapy can provide safe and helpful exercise programmes to help your muscles get stronger and your joints move easier, alongside practical advice as to how to manage flare ups, pacing strategies and work and home adaptation suggestions. 

We can refer on to other services if needed. You will be referred by our team when appropriate. 

Telephone advice line

This service is run by trained practitioners who specialise in rheumatology, and provides advice and support for patients who attend the rheumatology department at our hospital.

When to call the advice line

  • if you have a flare-up of your condition that has not improved with your usual self-help methods
  • if you experience side-effects that you think may be caused by the medication prescribed for your rheumatological condition
  • if you have concerns about your symptoms, medication, or treatment, which cannot wait until your next appointment
  • please leave a message on our answering machine and leave your name, NHS number, date of birth, a brief reason for your call and a number you can be contacted on. Calls will be responded to, where possible, within 48 hours. Our policy is that we will try on three occasions to return your call after which the inquiry will be closed

Do not call the advice line if

  • you need to change an appointment
  • you want to obtain test results unless you have been asked to by your Practitioner
  • you need general medical advice. Please note the advice line is not an emergency service

If you need urgent medical advice, contact your GP or NHS 111. In a limb or life threatening condition, always call 999. 

Appointment information

Appointment types

We offer telephone, and face to face appointments.  

Appointments last around 15 to 40 minutes and you may need to have further tests and investigations before a treatment plan is decided. You will have the opportunity to discuss this and any concerns you may have during your appointment.

Telephone appointments

All our clinicians can provide an expert assessment and will discuss your symptoms with you over the phone. They will also discuss appropriate and available management options for your problem. They will be able to send you advice and exercises depending on what is most appropriate for your condition.  If you are contacted by telephone, please note that the call may come from an unknown number. 

Face-to-face appointments

On the day of your appointment, please go to the department named in your letter and register with reception.  

Appointments are generally booked from waiting lists, 6 weeks ahead of the date. Sometimes appointments are more urgent, which the referring clinician will let us know, and the administration team will arrange these where appropriate. 

Admin also deal with all the paperwork for medication, so may need to contact you when your medication is due for renewal or if you are not up to date with your blood tests, to give you a reminder. 

Who you'll see 

You will see or speak to one of our clinicians who will provide an expert assessment and will discuss your symptoms and treatment plan with you. 


If you have an outpatient appointment, please remember: 

  • to bring a list of your medications to each appointment 
  • to notify the receptionist of any changes to your personal details, for example your address or telephone number 
  • if you need to cancel or rearrange your appointment, please notify us as soon as possible 
  • when you attend for your appointment, you may not always be seen by your usual consultant or nurse. It may be another member of the team
  • please wear comfortable or loose clothing

How can I contact this service?

Please refer to the CSIMS contact us section for telephone and contact details for all locations regarding appointments, active referral queries and any other queries.

Where to find us
Address: Centenary Wing, Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital, Centenary Wing, Shripney Road, Bognor Regis, PO20 9PP

You can find us using the what3words address snippet below on the what3words website:

Alternatively, use the Google map below to get directions and plan your journey:

Waiting times

Our waiting time for new patients is currently up to 18 weeks with the aim to see patients sooner if possible. 

Where can I find resources for this service?

Versus Arthritiscommunity providing support for people with arthritis across the UK 

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society – information and support services for those affected by rheumatoid arthritis, their families, friends, carers and health professionals 

The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance – information on effective management of Psoriatic Arthritis 

NASSsupport and guidance for those living with Ankylosing Spondylitis  

Royal Osteoporosis Society – UK’s largest national charity dedicated to improving bone health and beating osteoporosis 

Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis UK offers support, raises awareness and promotes research for those affected by polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and giant cell arteritis (GCA) 

Vasculitis UK – provides support, information and advice to those suffering from vasculitis diseases and their families  

Lupus UK – registered charity supporting people with systemic lupus and discoid lupus and assisting those approaching diagnosis 

Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UKoffers support and information to help those living with Raynaud's or Scleroderma

UK Gout Society  – registered charity providing information to people living with gout, their families, friends and carers 

Fibromyalgia Action UK – charity which supports those living with Fibromyalgia 

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