The current virus outbreak of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc all over the world and is currently continuing to do so. We are facing unprecedented times and everyday life is extremely difficult and challenging for all of us.

I just wanted to update you on various things regarding rheumatology and my own rheumatology private practice in the current climate

I am actually working now full-time in acute medicine on the frontline in the NHS trying to give my best to fight this tsunami that has hit us. My NHS rheumatology practise has temporarily stopped and my colleague is covering me for any urgent rheumatology issues.

I am also closed for private face to face consultations for the whole of April and I will re-evaluate the situation at the end of this month. However, I am offering telephone consultations for those who would require a rheumatology consultation sooner rather than later.

I would like to advise those patients with inflammatory rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, psoriatic arthritis, and polymyalgia rheumatica, YOU SHOULD NOT STOP YOUR IMMUNE SUPPRESSING MEDICATION UNLESS ADVISED BY A DOCTOR.

It is more dangerous to have an uncontrolled underlying inflammatory condition and then contract the virus rather than being on immunosuppressive medication that is controlling the underlying condition. Prednisolone (steroids) should NOT be stopped suddenly.

Majority of patients with inflammatory rheumatic conditions should be under the care of a NHS rheumatologist. The British Society of Rheumatology has provided a system to risk stratify our patients on immune suppressing medications. You should look to obtain advice from your primary rheumatologist. In the current climate, this is not so easy to do and I am certainly able to offer a TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONto assess your risk and give you the appropriate advice. Risk is assessed on a case by case basis and is not a one size fits all approach.

The key is to continue to follow the Chief Medical Officer’s advice which is to STAY AT HOMEand to maintain SOCIAL DISTANCING. Keep WASHING HANDSregularly and thoroughly. Please stay safe. Continue with some daily regular exercise and continue to eat healthily. Avoid heavy alcohol consumption and stop smoking.

Please look at my website for my contact details and any other rheumatology information that you require. The website address is www.privatelondonrheumatologist.com