Help! They're shutting down our Rheumy service!

Hi Folks, 

I've been quiet but have been viewing the posts. 

Our rhuemy team in North Essex is being shut down. No reason being given and no notification from management either. I heard this update from my nurse when I went to restart MTX  - rheumatoid lung nodules and lung function tests: all good. 

I'm under the impression that the decision was not based on economics, but is politically motivated... there was originally an edict to shut down in 24 hours but it's now at the end of the month. 

Has anyone been involved with protests / representations / submissions in relation to service continuation when a service is under the axe? Any ideas or experience would be welcome! 

They are a great team who work beyond the call of duty and I know they have us patients as their focus. They have had over 6000 patients in 7 years so their efforts are well used in the local community. 


15 Replies

  • contact the nras helpline. That's awful.

  • Have done - wheel starting to turn! Cheers, 

  • Sounds as if they have been hoping to do it on the q publicity is needed so that everyone affected gets to know what's on the cards. Local newspapers, radio, contacting local mp. Are there any local need to find allies to fight this decision. Good luck, keep us posted! M x

  • I'm getting all the approaches and letters all lined up!



  • Disgusting. Good Luck with your campaign.

  • That is really shocking. I'd feel very unsettled by that. Maybe your local MP could take it up for you? And maybe NRAS have experience of the best ways to get heard? I can't think how politics wouldn't involve economy measures personally - are they joining your rheum dept with another hospital or something? Worth a letter of dismay at least to the CEO of your local NHS Trust. They'd be obliged to answer. Recorded delivery if you can afford it tends to get taken seriously I've found. Good luck and please keep us posted. 

  • Which Hospital, is it outpatients in Saffron Walden??  Querying as it could be same rheumy team that I see.

  • Hi, BoneyC, the Dr is called Tahir. The service is run from Chelmsford, as I understand, and I'd guess you're more in Uttlesford area. I think he's located in the south of Essex, but I could be wrong. Certainly the nurse comes from South Essex. 

  • Hi MickeyJoints,

    I'm in Cambridgeshire.  I understand Addenbrookes team go out as far as Saffron Walden, North Essex, but not as far as Chelmsford.  I was interested as I transferred from my small local hospital to Addenbrookes to continue seeing a specific Rheumatologist.  However, I saw him twice, and now see any Tom, Dick or Harriet, but was told he was still going to Saffron Walden.  This may have changed since then but I'm considering changing back to my smaller local hospital if there's no chance of seeing him.

    Good luck with your fight.

  • Thanks for bringing this to our attention. As per my email, we will get in touch with the Rheumatology Unit in Chelmsford and investigate this.


    Policy & Public Affairs Officer, NRAS

  • Im sorry to hear this, it must be incredibly unsettling to hear that the people you know and are comfortable with treating you may no longer be doing this locally. Terrible that there was no letter to explain who would be looking after you as a minimum & yes it does sound like they wish to close it with no time for patients to complain so I wish you well in your fight.

  • I have read your comments and would just like to say I go to Orsett hospital and they did have a help line for RA first time was good but since then it is not for help only ordering prescriptions so I too don't like that as I cannot get in touch with rheumy nurses if I wanted to. Think it is Basildon Hospital that runs the show and cut backs !!!! 

  • Yes, sadly cut-backs may be a factor, but perhaps the axe may have fallen a bit hard in this case! I think the rheuy nurse is doing it from the kindness of her own heart, which is great for me, but organisations can take advantage of that generosity... I think she would be wise to that though.

  • Yes I totally agree, from past experience I know if you are caring, contientous and willing you will be used until you are not wanted!!

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