The rheumatology team

The rheumatology team

Our department has a multidisciplinary team of staff who all work together to get the best outcomes for our patients.

Our consultants

Dr Spencer Ellis
Dr Jeremy Axon
Dr Jananath Wijeyekoon
Dr Thirau Marianayagam

The nursing team

The role of the rheumatology nurse specialist:

The rheumatology nurse specialist uses a patient centred approach and are involved in patient education, running of the telephone helpline, monitoring of disease modifying drugs and the newer anti-TNF treatments.

There are a number of clinics where you would see a nurse rather than a doctor, these clinic are particularly designed to educate patients regarding:

  • The disease process and treatment options
  • Specific disease modifying drugs and the monitoring requirements
  • How to manage a disease flare
  • On how to cope with an unpredictable disease
  • Pain management

The rheumatology nurse specialist has special experience in looking after the physical, emotional, and social needs of people with arthritis.

Rheumatology nurse practitioner:

  • Fidelma Gordon

Specialist nurse:

  • Sharon Pearson
  • Alex Eden

Rheumatology nurse:

  • Louise Hawkins

We also have staff nurses:

  • Clare Hickey
  • Rosemary Clark

There are a number of outpatient staff nurses who assist in the management, treatment and smooth pathway through outpatients for patients with a rheumatological condition.

The secretaries and clinic clerks

Patient pathway co-ordinator

Kate Perry

Medical secretaries

We have three medical secretaries who are based at the Lister hospital:
Michelle Want – Dr Axon and the nurse specialist secretary: 01438 285399
Anita Hulley  – Dr Wijeyekoon’s secretary 01438 286120
Michelle Coughlan – Dr Marianayagam’s secretary 01438 284128

Clinic clerks

The clinic clerks manage the appointment aspect of the rheumatology clinics. To contact them please phone 01438 284444.

The therapists

The role of physiotherapists

  • Examination of joints and muscle strength.
  • To assess how patients are managing functionally, for example balance, walking, opening jars
  • To advise on an individualised home exercise program.
  • Balance and co-ordination training (if lower limbs affected) and assessment, supply of walking aids as needed.
  • Pain relief techniques such as heat, ice and tens.
  • To advise on joint protection and lifestyle modifications.
  • To assess and refer on to hydrotherapy as appropriate.
  • To advise on pacing activities.
  • To advise on relaxation techniques to help relieve fatigue, lower anxiety levels and relieve pain.

The role of the occupational therapist

The role of an occupational therapist or OT is to help people carry out everyday activities and lead fulfilling lives. The occupational therapist will work with you to examine what activities are important to you and highlight particular problems and explore possible solutions with you. The occupational therapists where necessary can assist with the provision of splints or advise on other home aids.

The role of the podiatrist

Podiatry plays an important role in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the smaller joints such as fingers and toes first so feet are often one of the first places to be affected. The Podiatrist will check your feet and together decide on a treatment plan. As part of this plan the podiatrist may decide that you need further tests or investigations by other more specialist podiatrists.

The role of the orthotist

The orthotist is a trained specialist who prescribes and fits special shoes and orthoses.

The management team

The role of the rheumatology management team includes supporting the department with service development and redesign. Our aim is to ensure that patient experience and clinical care is of the highest quality. The team undertakes day today operational support to enable the department to achieve performance targets such as the delivery of treatment for outpatients within 18 weeks. We also oversee long term planning and help to manage complaints.

The senior management team within rheumatology at the Trust consists of:

  • Deputy general manager – Carol Smith
  • Service co-ordinator – vacant 
  • Clinical director/consultant rheumatologist – Dr Wijeyekoon

Other team members

  • A specialist registrar
  • GPs with a special interest in rheumatology
  • A musculoskeletal radiologist


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