Welcome to Ipswich Hospital
Our Passion, Your Care
Local Support for Rheumatology Patients

There is a great deal of support available locally for patients who suffer from rheumatological conditions.

Local support groups
The Rheumatoid Arthritis Group meets weekly on a Thursday evening in the Physiotherapy Outpatients Department at Ipswich Hospital from 6-9pm. The group offers social support and occasional outings.

The group also offers hydrotherapy and gentle mobilising and strengthening exercises monitored by a physiotherapist. Complementary therapies such as massage are available on occasions and the group also has visiting speakers. To join the group speak to a healthcare professional involved in your treatment about a referral. A small membership fee is payable.

Arthritis Care also has active groups around the region.  Regular meetings are held at the following venues:

Jesus and Mary Convent, Orwell Road, Felixstowe
Meets on the last Monday of each month at 7.30pm

St Mary at Stoke Church Hall, Stoke Street, Ipswich
Meets on the first Friday of each month at 7.00pm

Gibson Centre, Newmarket Hospital
Meets on the first Monday of each month at 7.00pm

Methodist Church Hall, Thetford
Meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 2.00pm

For further details on these or other groups, please visit the Arthritis Care website.

The Ipswich Inflammatory Spinal Group is a support group organised by its members under the auspices of the Ipswich Arthritis Foundation. The group meets weekly on Wednesday evenings in the Physiotherapy Outpatients Department at The Ipswich Hospital. From 6th February 2008 the meeting times are from 6.15-7.45pm.

In addition to social support, the group offers hydrotherapy, supervised physiotherapy, occasional massage and visiting speakers. To join the group, please ask a healthcare professional involved in your treatment for a referral. A small membership fee is payable.

Membership of the group is not restricted to current rheumatology patients. If you do not attend the Rheumatology Department but are interested in joining the group, please ask your GP if they think you would benefit from attending. If they do, ask them for a letter confirming that you have an inflammatory spinal condition and bring this with you on your first visit to the group.

For further information please contact the Rheumatology Advice Line on 01473 703315.

National Osteoporosis Society
(Ipswich and District Support Group) Telephone: 01394 270915

Ipswich and District Disabled Persons Swimming Club Telephone: 01473 401374

Aids and equipment
Despite treatment some people will, over time, develop a degree of disability as a result of their condition. There is a wide range of aids and equipment available to help people with all kinds of problems, ranging from smaller items such as adapted cutlery and jar openers to larger items such as wheelchairs and home adaptations such as stair lifts. Unfortunately we are no longer able to supply these items but many items can be purchased or ordered locally from the following outlets:

Felgains, 33 Knightsdale Road, Ipswich IP1 4JJ
Telephone: 01473 741144 or freephone 0500 827706

Rose Health Care Centre (incorporating Ipswich Mobility), 60 St Matthews Street, Ipswich IP1 3EP
Telephone: 01473 258508

In addition, many pharmacies (chemists) stock a range of smaller items of useful equipment for the home or workplace. For information on how to obtain more specialised gadgets or equipment, please ask our staff when you attend clinic: they will be pleased to advise you. Further information can also be obtained from the following:

Disabled Living Foundation

Disability Rights UK
Ground Floor, CAN Mezzanine, 49-51 East Rd, London N1 6AH
Telephone: 020 7250 8181 (Mon-Fri, 10am – 12.30pm and 1.30 – 4pm)

Benefits advice
If you are unable to work due to your rheumatological condition you may be eligible for financial assistance such as Statutory Sick Pay (for periods of sickness whilst in employment) or Employment and Support Allowance if you have been assessed as incapable of work. If you are under 65 you may be eligible for Disability Living Allowance (not available to new claimants)/Personal Independence Payment, Severe Disablement Allowance and/or Attendance Allowance to help with care or mobility needs. Those providing regular care to a disabled person may be eligible for a Carer’s Allowance, subject to certain criteria. Certain other benefits may also be available, for example Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefitand assistance with the cost of purchasing equipment or making adaptations to your home. For further details as to whether you qualify for any of these (or other) benefits and advice on how to make a claim, the following links may be useful:

Benefits Enquiry Line (BEL) (The Department of Work and Pensions)
Telephone: 0800 882200

Carers UK
Telephone: 0808 808 7777

Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau 19 Tower Street, Ipswich IP1 3BE
Telephone: 01473 217313

Ipswich Citizen’s Advice Bureau, 19 Tower Street, Ipswich IP1 3BE
Telephone: 01473 219777

Ipswich Community Resource Centre, 16 Old Foundry Road, Ipswich IP4 2AS
Telephone: 01473 433244

Information about local services
DisabledGo is a national website on which you can find detailed information about the access to all kinds of places, such as hotels, restaurants, colleges, tourist attractions, libraries, hospitals and leisure centres. You can also use DisabledGo to find a job, catch up on the latest disability news, advertise events, post articles and join discussions on their forum.