A new way forward

Last week I was referred to see my new Specialist as when I was at my old address I was seen about once or twice a year with several problems with a RA Nurse.

Alarmingly I was up to the year to see the Specialist at my new Cottage Hospital and the appointment was made to a new system that had been going on over the last few years, As an single appointment was going to take a long period of time.before the specialist could see me.

This clinic was different, there was about twenty, thirty patients sitting around a room and there would have been tea if someone had not stolen the kettle.

When we entered the ward we were summoned to a side ward, we all sat around waiting for the Doctor when He arrived he picked up the survey sheets we had to fill in and read the sheets then examined each patient at a time, then He filled in a sheet and the nurse was able to take bloods and give steroid injections after each of us had been seen.

After we had our check ups and treatment an open question time was introduced regards treatments drugs etc. and this went on for twenty mins. Some patients left before this any questions and the whole appointment and talk lasted for two hours.

Yes the time was slow with all the patients, the clinic was run on Patients Confidentiality terms where all would not discuss out of clinic other peoples medical problems, although the patients were able to hear how other people were getting on and their treatment regimes and they were learning of new treatments and alternative treatments they could try.

This clinic was run four weekly, I had my steroid jab a check over and chat, the whole experience was positive and worthwhile the specialist had seen thirty patients in two hours, a true positive use of time

Would anyone here like this sort of treatment or would any of you find it to open ended with regards people listening in.


5 Replies

That's so interesting Bob. Could work, but might take a bit of getting used to. I suppose just like one-to-one appointments an awful lot depends on the commitment and skill of the consultant. I can imagine it easily becoming a bit of a conveyor belt, but obviously the same can be true of individual appointments.

It's interesting that you say people learned a lot from 'listening in'. Having a chronic disease can be very isolating and it might be useful to be around others discussing their condition with the doctor on a routine basis - educational and possibly reassuring too.


I think would like this sort of set up Bob as long as I could see my consultant one to one for a bit longer if intervention was needed regarding new drugs. I agree with Postle that it could become a bit of a conveyor belt if this was all patients were ever offered. But otherwise I wouldn't be at all worried about the confidentiality aspects re people listening in. I think it sounds productive and it would be good to hear of the experiences of others in the room. Thanks for telling us about this.

Kind regards, Twitchy



I should know soon if I am going on this system for reviews

Taken aback I put a report in to Healthwatch and hopefully will start talking to patients on how they feel regarding this.system

The Specialist would refer back a patient to a standard clinical appointment and I saw this happen on several occasions. The system itself, run monthly is a good way of giving treatment when something that is wrong is picked up sooner than a standard three month review, given that speed of treatment seems a win win for flareups and contraindications caused by DMARD and Biologic medications as when things go wrong the RA nurse can move that much faster.

Regarding above post, feedback would be good on this as possibly this way may be a good way forward for extended periods between individual they are more expensive one time and finance.



Oh my word I would HATE this system. I wouldn't go if it changed to that. I'd prefer to be seen privately and not discuss my personal problems knowing I was being stared at.

What I did like though, was when I used to go to Christchurch Hospital in Dorset, they had a coffee morning once a month where any patient could go and all sit around with a couple of nurses asking questions and concerns and having all aspects explained clearly and throroughly. I do miss that.



I can see this working well for those have had the disease for some time and have adjusted to the condition......sounds a better option than maybe just 2 appointments per year. However, for more recently diagnosed I'm not so sure. I have been diagnosed 6 months now and see someone every 6-8 weeks. If I see the rheumy nurse I get a half hour slot, plenty of time and I don't feel rushed. I can also phone in between appt and always get a quick response......I feel well supported. I am not ready to sit in a group discussing my problems.

Also many people are still trying to work, myself included, and I suspect more and more will be in this position as pension age rises and benefits are being cut. This system would be difficult for working people. My work are fine about me taking early morning or late appts and allow me the time, don't think they would be too impressed with me taking a half day! X


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