Rheumatology Information

Covid 19 – Coronavirus – Information for Rheumatology patients

We sincerely hope you and your family are staying safe and limiting your contact with others. 

Lots of you are contacting us for information and advice so we’ve pulled together commonly asked questions and answers for you.  If you need to contact us, please use the details at the end of this page. 

Please remember – to protect yourself and others, please regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, cough into a tissue and discard immediately, avoid touching your face, and avoid contact with anyone who is unwell. 

Should I be self-isolating or shielding myself?

As per government advice everybody should be self-isolating as much as they can and minimising contact with others. You can find advice on how to self-isolate on the NHS website (put ‘NHS.UK’ into your web browser).

However, please be very aware that everyone has personal circumstances and you may have to shield yourself for 12 weeks. Shielding means that you should not leave your home, and within your home you should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of your household. This depends on your medicines, your age, and other health conditions you have (such as diabetes, lung disease, kidney and heart problems). Please either email or phone the Rheumatology Nurse Specialists for advice. 

What should I do if I was asked  to come for a blood test either at my appointment or from a letter?

Please do not come to the hospital for a blood test. We are delaying blood tests until we have a clearer picture of what is happening.  It’s safer for you to say at home and not come to the hospital for a blood test.  If you notice changes in your symptoms, please call the Rheumatology Specialist Nurses.  

Should I still be taking my medicine?

Yes.  Please do not make any changes unless:

  • You have been told to change your medicine by the Rheumatology Specialist Nurses or Rheumatologist. 
  • You develop Covid-19 symptoms.  Please read the specific section below about this

What should I do if I have Covid 19 symptoms?

If you have persistent dry cough or a fever (which are the most common symptoms of Covid 19) and are on the follow medicines you should stop taking these until your symptoms have resolved. 

Stop these medicines if you have Covid 19 symptoms

  • Disease Modifying Drugs – Methotrexate, Leflunomide, Azathioprine, Ciclosporin, Cyclophosphamide, Mycophenolate.
  • Biologics/Biosimilars –  Benepali, Enbrel, Humira, Secukinumab, Abatacept, Infliximab, Certolizumab, Goliumumab, Baricitinib, Tofacitinib and Saralimumab

Do not stop taking the following medicines

  • Hydroxychloroquine and Sulfasalazine
  • Prednisolone (steroid tablets).

For up to date information please visit these websites:

British Rheumatology Society


National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society


How can I contact Rheumatologist Specialist Nurse?

By Email:  khft.rheumatologynurseadvice@nhs.net and we will phone you back.

Please ensure you tell us your full name, date of birth and give us your phone contact details. 

By Phone:  0208 934 6156 (option 2).  Your call will be answered by the Rheumatology secretaries and the Rheumatology Specialist Nurses will call you back by the end of the next working day. 

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