Appointments, assessments and patient pathways

We provide outpatient care for patients referred by their general practitioner (GP) with all types of bowel problems (colorectal). Our aim is that you leave the clinic as reassured as possible. We want your visit to be a friendly and caring experience.

Nurse-led clinics

We offer nurse-led clinics at the North Devon District Hospital. Led by Rheumatology specialist nurses, these usually take place in the Outpatients department. These appointments are to assess your condition and make sure you are receiving the best care and support.

Specialist nurses within the Rheumatology team also visit community hospitals such as Bideford and South Molton. Your appointment letter will tell you where your appointment is due to take place.

Important information about your appointment:

  • We use a database to collect information and may use different assessments on the computer. We call these ‘patient reported outcome measures’ and you may be invited to assess this yourself via an email link at home.
  • The appointment is also an opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns you may have relevant to your condition and lifestyle. This may lead to a referral to other specialities within the team
  • Research is a positive step in development and improvements within Rheumatology. You may be invited to participate in relevant studies that are going on but again this is optional.

We have a multi-disciplinary team meeting each week where we can discuss your care with other Rheumatology team members such as the Doctors, Physiotherapists, or Occupational Therapists.


The hydrotherapy is in use every day but is open to our patients on Mondays, Tues morning and Fri morning. Generally, the sessions are for people with some form of mobility problem and are ideal for people with stiff joints with resulting weakness.

The small pool is heated to about 35 Celsius, has stairs into the pool (rather than a ladder) and a bar around the pool edge to make exercising easier. The deepest depth is 4’6” and the shallowest is 4′.

All patients are required to fill a screening form in order to use the pool as there are some contraindications.  The duration is between 20 minutes for the first session and 10 minutes longer thereafter. The heat and buoyancy make movement easier. Most people can do more in the pool than they can on dry land and can start mobility and strengthening exercises.

Some come to the pool to try out specific exercises, e.g. Spinal stretching exercises and take these away so they can exercise in their local pool. Others attend a course of about 4 sessions with the aim of doing the exercises independently.


We offer appointments for people with musculoskeletal, functional or mobility problems relating to their Rheumatological condition.

We also offer musculoskeletal Diagnostic ultrasound, along with corticosteroid injections.

Telephone: (01271) 322378

Occupational Therapy Clinics

We see people on an individual basis and run the rheumatology education groups on behalf of the rheumatology team. Generally, we see people in our outpatient department at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, but we do run clinics in Bideford, Holsworthy, South Molton, Torrington and Ilfracombe.


Podiatrists assess, diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of problems and diseases that affect the feet. The Podiatry team contributes to keeping patients mobile, this includes educating people on foot health and where appropriate giving advice about self-managing their foot care.

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Follow up care

Do you want more control over your follow-up appointments with rheumatology? You may be interested in patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) appointments.

PIFU puts you in control of when you see your specialist. It means having access to clinical support when you need it, and for some patients it will mean spending less time attending hospital appointments.

If you are interested in being on a PIFU pathway for your follow-up appointments, please speak to your clinician.

Patient information leaflets

We produce a wide range of leaflets which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

We also produce these in different formats including large print, please contact the department you are visiting for more information.

Find out more

Last updated: August 22, 2023.


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