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National Recognition for Rheumatology

13th January 2021

The Southern Trust’s Pharmacy and Rheumatology departments have received the prestigious ‘Clinical Award 2021’ from The British Society for Rheumatology.

The award highlights examples of innovation and excellence in rheumatology across the UK and is presented in recognition of outstanding clinical work, best practice and improved patient care.

The team received this year’s award for the development of a virtual clinic for patients using highly specialised drugs known as biologics. The Virtual Rheumatology Biologics Clinic was introduced in May 2019 by Lead Rheumatology Consultant, Dr Nicola Maiden, to help address some of the challenges facing the biologic service.

In the first six months, 928 rheumatology patients had their biological drugs reviewed through the clinic.

Congratulating the team, Dr Tracey Boyce, Director of Pharmacy for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust explains:

“The use of biological treatments for people with joint or muscle disorders has been steadily increasing in recent years, with around 1000 of our rheumatology patients now using these drugs.

“Whilst biologic drugs have a very positive impact on the patient’s quality of life, they suppress the immune system and require careful monitoring. They are also complex to manage and expensive.

“The development of our new virtual clinic allows specialist pharmacy and rheumatology staff to work together to closely monitor more patients. Clinicians now use this multidisciplinary approach to prescribe the most suitable drugs based on the patient’s needs and latest guidance, and are optimising the use of medicines across rheumatology.

“I am absolutely delighted that the team have received this very much deserved recognition, for their innovative approach to overcoming the challenges to make sure that more patients get the best possible treatment.”


Photo caption:

Some of the team involved in the Southern Trust’s Virtual Rheumatology Biologics Clinic which has received the 2021 Clinical Award from The British Society for Rheumatology

Lesley-Ann McWilliams, Rheumatology Nurse Specialist, Dr Vivienne McGoldrick, Rheumatology Associate Specialist, Jane Whiteman, Rheumatology Pharmacist and Lead Rheumatology Consultant, Dr Nicola Maiden.


Missing from photo are; Elaine Wylie, Biologics Clinical Manager, Dr Stephanie Walker, Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr Niel Liggett, Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr Eimear Savage, Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr Lee-Ann Neville, Rheumatology Specialist Doctor, Caroline McAteer, Rheumatology Nurse Specialist.