Description of Department/Service

Welcome to Rheumatology

The Rheumatology Multidisciplinary Team (MDT)

Professor David Kane, Consultant Rheumatologist

Professor Ronan Mullan, Consultant Rheumatologist

Ms. Shona Lee, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Rheumatology

Mr. David Askin, Clinical Nurse Manager in Osteoporosis

Ms. Aisling Brennan, Musculoskeletal Clinical Specialist

Ms. Sarah O’Driscoll Senior Rheumatology Physiotherapist

Ms. Caitriona Ni Se, Muskuloskeletal Clinical Specialist 

Ms. Susan Somerville, Senior Occupational Therapist

Ms. Mairead Flanagan, Clinical Secretary

Ms. Mary Kelly, Clinical Secretary

Ms. Susan O'Donnell, Clinical Secretary

Specialist Registrar (rotating)

Research Registrar (rotating)

Senior House Officer (rotating)

Medical Intern (rotating)

The Rheumatology Mission Statement

To provide State-of-the-Art, Patient-centred care for people with arthritis and specifically Autoimmune Inflammatory Disease and to attain the highest standards of Education and Research into Rheumatological disease. 

Overview of Rheumatology Services

The Rheumatology Multidisciplinary team (MDT) aims to provide a comprehensive set of services for the patients within the catchment of Tallaght University Hospital. To cater for the growing needs of our patients the team has pioneered new models of care for patients with inflammatory and non-inflammatory conditions. We have successfully established novel ultrasound technology as both a routine part of patient care at Tallaght University Hospital but also have led in ultrasound education and in developing ultrasound as a cutting edge research technology.

The Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinic

In recent years, rheumatologists have realised that effective early diagnosis and treatment of patients with Inflammatory Arthritis will lead to better long-term health outcomes for their patients. When the disease is treated early, patients experience less pain and maintain better long-term joint function. In order to ensure patients with new inflammatory arthritis symptoms are seen quickly we have offered a offer a rapid access, Early Arthritis Clinic at Tallaght University Hospital. Your GP may refer you to the Early Arthritis Clinic using our Early Arthritis Referral Form which is available here.

The Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinic at Tallaght University Hospital provides a “One Stop Shop” model for the diagnosis and management of inflammatory arthritis. Blood tests and x-rays are performed prior to the appointment so that the results are available on the day of appointment. Further X-rays and an ultrasound scan of affected joints may also be performed during the appointment. Once the diagnosis is confirmed a nurse is available to immediately educate patients on their disease and on disease modifying anti-rheumatic medication prescribed. All newly diagnosed patients are then managed in a multidisciplinary team setting through the Early Arthritis Allied Health Clinic, and at the Rheumatology clinic.  This follows a Patient Centred, “Treat to Target protocol” which is supported by a telephone helpline, with out of hours and urgent appointments available on request. This care pathway also covers a cardiovascular risk assessment and osteoporosis risk assessment at specified time points.

The Early Arthritis Allied Health Clinics

In addition to seeing their rheumatologist at the rheumatology clinic, all patients with a new diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis also attend a single specialist Allied Health Professional clinic early in the course of their disease where they see a Rheumatology Specialist Nurse, Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist on the same day. This clinic exists for patients with recent onset of inflammatory arthritis to provide a comprehensive and coordinated service. The clinic will ensure regular monitoring of patients within their first year of diagnosis in a way that makes the best use of available hospital resources. It is popular with patients who use the service as it provides excellent access opportunities to members of the rheumatology team. All new inflammatory arthritis patients also have access to Hydrotherapy services in the hospital, where weekly classes take place for this cohort of patents to opt in to.

Physiotherapy Triage and Rapid Access Clinics

A Physiotherapy Rheumatology Musculoskeletal Clinic was established in Tallaght University Hospital in 2007 as a waiting list initiative. Due to its success it has been developed over the years. The aim of the clinic is to provide early access to patients with non-inflammatory musculoskeletal complaints. At the clinic they are seen by a Musculoskeletal Specialist Physiotherapist who carries out a comprehensive assessment to establish a clinical diagnosis and management plan. Evidence Based protocols devised by the Consultant Rheumatologists and Specialist Physiotherapy staff are used. The clinic runs alongside the medical rheumatology clinics and therefore patients may also be seen by the Consultant Rheumatologist/ Specialist Registrar as required. Musculoskeletal Ultrasound may also be used at these clinics to enhance clinical diagnosis.

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Guided Injection Clinics

The Musculoskeletal Ultrasound guided injection clinics have been designed as a ‘one stop shop’ for patients requiring a joint or soft tissue injection to treat painful symptoms which restrict movement in specific joints. By using musculoskeletal ultrasound the rheumatologist can often more accurately treat the specific cause of pain using a guided injection to the affected area. The use of ultrasound at the clinic prevents the need for patients to attend a separate ultrasound appointment in the x-ray department. Following on from any injection procedure patients may be referred for physiotherapy to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your injection in terms of your physical function.

The Fracture Prevention Service

In 2009 the Tallaght University Hospital Rheumatology Department appointed David Askin to establish a Fracture Prevention Service. This service supports both national policy and international standards in preventing future fracture. It is the responsibility of the Osteoporosis CNM to screen all patients attending Adult Trauma Orthopaedics over 50 years of age with a low trauma fracture at Tallaght University Hospital. This seeks to identify patients that could be at a highest risk of fracture. During the assessment patients are advised of their risks for a future fracture. Individualised information is given to patients on modifiable and non-modifiable risks for future fracture. This is supplemented with written information. Patient management will be dependant on risk of a future fracture leading to a bone density x-ray (DXA). This protocol driven service is filtered by osteoporosis CNM with medical support from Rheumatology and Gerontology department.

ARThritis – arts programme for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Art therapy can provide unique holistic benefits to patients with chronic diseases. At Tallaght University Hospital a unique arts programme for patients with chronic rheumatoid arthritis has been in existence since 2007. The purpose of the programme is to give patients the chance to try art, explore their creativity and to express their feelings about their condition through a creative medium. The works of masters such as Renoir, Dufy and Klee, who also suffered from arthritis, provide the main source of inspiration behind the arts programme . X-rays of the patients’ own arthritic joints are used as inspiration for the final designs. “The Claw” is a large scale painting that was created by our patient Jo Killalee as part of ARThritis, and was inspired by an x-ray of the artist’s hands. Jo first started painting when she was a patient at the hospital in 2007. In 2011 “The Claw” painting was entered in the World Congress for Physical Therapy (WPCT) Art and Health Competition 2011 where it won the Runner-up award in the painting category