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RheumatologyClinical services

Ankylosing spondylitis


We're planning to relocate these services, currently provided from the Mineral Water Hospital site, to a purpose built RNHRD and Therapies Centre on the RUH's Combe Park site in 2019. The new Centre will bring together a number of outpatient services from the RUH and RNHRD which support patients to live independently in the community. Patients will continue to be seen and treated by the same team, only the location will change. Peripheral clinics will continue in the same location. Please see here for more information.


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic, inflammatory spinal condition which affects about one in 200 people in this country.  Spinal inflammation causes pain and stiffness and if left untreated can cause a fixed, stooped posture. In some patients peripheral joints such as hips and shoulders are also involved. The condition can also affect the eyes, lungs and heart. 

Why choose us?

We have a long tradition of providing excellent clinical care for AS patients locally and nationally. We aim to help with all aspects of AS, from early diagnosis to treatment with our AS course and the optimisation of drug treatments.

What we offer

Specialist AS rehabilitation course

This course aims to promote self-management and provide patients with the resources to optimise their health. It is designed for:

  • people with a new diagnosis of spondyloarthropathy (mainly AS, but also includes psoriatic spondyloarthropathy, undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy, inflammatory bowel disease-associated spondyloarthropathy)
  • those experiencing a flare-up of their disease
  • people post surgery, e.g., hip replacement
  • people on anti-TNF treatment

The programme is provided at different levels of intensity to cater for different levels of disease severity and functional ability. It is a residential course lasting two weeks. Patients are accommodated in flats close to the hospital. Groups comprise a maximum of 12 patients, and for individuals for whom group management is not suitable the option of hospital admission for individualised treatment is available.

The programme is run by a multidisciplinary team which includes:

  • physiotherapists
  • consultant rheumatologist
  • occupational therapist
  • counsellors
  • pharmacist
  • dietitian
  • health care assistants
  • AS administrator

The programme is largely delivered by the physiotherapy team who supervise the exercise and hydrotherapy sessions and provide the majority of the education sessions. Each patient is reviewed by the consultant rheumatologist on a weekly, multidisciplinary ward round where the patient’s progress on the course is discussed and any issues around medications, investigations and complications of disease are dealt with.

The other health professionals on the team provide group and, if needed, individual sessions in their specialist areas. These might involve:

  • education: helping patients learn about their disease and its management
  • exercise: reducing pain and stiffness, maintaining erect posture and preserving mobility through graded exercises and stretches
  • pain management: development of pain-management strategies
  • networking: providing the opportunity to meet, learn from and work with other patients.

How to access our service

Patients can be referred to the course by their consultant rheumatologist or via ERS by their GP to a rheumatology consultant at the RNHRD to be assessed for their suitability for the course.

Written referrals should be made to:

Dr Raj Sengupta, Consultant Rheumatologist
RNHRD, Upper Borough Walls, Bath, BA1 1RL

Medical Secretary Karolina Gaworczyk  Tel: 01225 473441
Further information re the AS course can be obtained from Belinda Jones, AS Course Administrator.  
Tel 01225 473416   Email