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What to Expect at Your Appointment

If you need to change or cancel your appointment please call 01473 703526 to inform our receptionist as soon as possible so your appointment time can be offered to someone else.

Please bring your appointment card and a list of all your current medications and dosages. If you have had a previous rheumatology appointment and have been given a drug monitoring booklet please bring this too. You should also bring a sample of urine for routine testing.
It may also be helpful to write down any specific concerns which you wish to discuss at your appointment.

What to expect from your appointment
Each time you come for a rheumatology clinic appointment at The Ipswich Hospital you will be booked in by a health care assistant (HCA), who will weigh you, check your height, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure and test your urine sample. You may also be asked to complete a brief questionnaire regarding any difficulties you may have with activities of daily living. If you need help with this the HCA will be able to help you.

At your first clinic appointment you will be seen by a member of the rheumatology team; this may be one of the medical team or a rheumatology practitioner. You will be asked about your general health, previous medical history, what medication you take and if you have any drug allergies. Any relevant family history will also be noted. If a physical examination is necessary you may be asked to partially undress. If you need assistance, one of our staff will be available to help you, and a chaperone will be available if you wish. Further investigations such as blood tests or x-rays may be needed before a further appointment is arranged.

Following your clinic appointment you may need to start new medication. You will usually be given a prescription which can be dispensed by the hospital pharmacy, or you may be advised to consult your own doctor for this. You will generally only be issued with a small supply of medication and will need to obtain further prescriptions from your GP.

Regular blood tests are often required when taking many of the disease-modifying treatments used in rheumatology and it is important that you have these tests – you will be told how often tests are needed for your treatment program. The blood tests can be done at the hospital Pathology Department, or by a practice nurse, district nurse or phlebotomist at your GP practice. You will need to check if your surgery provides this service.

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. More often, a further appointment will be arranged, either for you to attend in person or for a telephone review.