Making an Appointment
This starts with a visit to your General Practitioner to discuss whether they feel that a referral to the Edinburgh Rheumatology Practice would be helpful. Your General Practitioner would then usually e-mail or fax a referral letter addressed to Dr Lambert to the clinic of your choice (see Book Appointment). At that stage you are welcome to contact the clinic directly to arrange an appointment with Dr Lambert. If you need to be seen quickly we are happy to discuss this with you or your GP and arrange an urgent appointment. In this situation your GP may give you a referral letter to bring to the clinic. For a routine visit you would expect to be offered an appointment within a few days. However, if for any reason, you have difficulty in making a suitable appointment you should contact the practice office directly (see Contact Office).
It is difficult to describe a ‘typical’ patient journey as the rheumatic diseases cover a wide spectrum of illness with very different treatment requirements. A clear plan will, however, be discussed with you at an early stage. Usually a number of blood tests will be required to reach a diagnosis. A trained nurse will take these after your consultation. Also, you will usually be asked to supply a urine specimen for routine tests.
Treatment and Follow Up
Depending upon your problem it may be necessary to undergo some form of medical imaging. Plain x-rays will usually be performed after your first visit. More detailed imaging, for instance ultrasound, CT or MRI scanning will be booked by appointment and you will receive detailed instructions from the radiology department about any particular requirements for these. You may be given an information booklet about the scan and be asked to complete a simple questionnaire. It is wise to inform your insurance company if scan is required as they may need to authorise this beforehand. A radiologist who specialises in musculo-skeletal imaging will report your x-rays and scans and will discuss any relevant finding directly with Dr Lambert.
Depending upon what investigations are required you will usually be offered a further appointment within a week or two to discuss the results and agree a treatment plan.
Treatments for the rheumatic diseases vary enormously and range from simple analgesia through to complex drug combinations, which might include biologic agents. Some conditions may benefit from injections of steroid directly into the joint or soft tissues and these are performed with local anaesthetic in the consulting room. The Practice has close links with highly trained professionals in the fields of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry where this may be beneficial.
You will be guided through the suitable treatment options and have ample opportunity to ask questions or discuss concerns.