Northland > Public Hospital Services > Northland District Health Board (NDHB) >

Northland DHB Rheumatology Service

Public Service


What is Rheumatology?
Rheumatology is the specialty of medicine that includes arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
Arthritis means inflammation of a joint. A joint is where two or more bones meet and move in relation to each other. They are separated by a rubbery substance called cartilage which is smooth and slippery, allowing for easy movement.
Autoimmune disease is where an abnormality in the immune system leads to the body’s defence harming its own cells by mistake.

A rheumatologist is a doctor who has specialised in this area of medicine.


Rheumatology Services Provided by Northland DHB

Specialist Rheumatology clinics are run twice a month and a visiting rheumatologist from Counties Manukau attends. Some forms of arthritis can be managed by general physicians and as the number of appointments for the rheumatologist is limited, patients may be seen by general physicians - either for their first visits or follow ups. Rheumatology clinics are only provided at Whangarei Hospital.


Referral Expectations

Inpatient Care
There is no inpatient Rheumatology Service in Northland. Inpatient care is provided at Whangarei Hospital for patients with acute (severe) illness associated with rheumatic disorders and also for some patients undergoing rehabilitation. Ward care is provided by a rheumatologist or registrar (a doctor training to become a specialist who is under supervision).

Outpatient Clinics
Outpatient clinics for Northland patients are held at Whangarei Hospital only.

Rheumatology Nurse Led Clinic
Outpatient clinics for Northland patients are held at Whangarei Hospital and Kaitaia Hospital.

Common Conditions

  • Osteoarthritis (OA)

    Otherwise known as degenerative arthritis. OA occurs when there is a breakdown of the cartilage, leaving the bones unprotected.… More

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

    RA is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints.… More

  • Fibromyalgia

    This is a syndrome of widespread aches, pains and fatigue.… More

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

    This is an autoimmune disease where the immune system harms cells of the body.  It can affect the joints, skin, nervous system, kidneys and heart.  It is a disease for which there is no cure.… More

  • Giant Cell Arteritis/Temporal Arteritis

    Giant cell arteritis (GCA) also known as temporal arteritis, is an inflammatory condition of the blood vessels and can present with headache, jaw claudication, scalp tenderness or other more vague symptoms.… More PDF

  • Gout

    Please click on the following links for information about gout in English, Samoan (Gugu) and Tongan (Kauti).… More PDF

  • Medicine Information Sheets

    Please click on the following links for information sheets on:
    alendronate (Fosamax)… More PDF

Contact Details

Whangarei Hospital


Fax (09) 430 4115 during working hours; (09) 430 4132 after hours

Emergency Department: Open 24 hours / 7 days, Phone (09) 430 4100

Feedback, compliments, complaints and suggestions

Whangarei Hospital
2 Hospital Road

Information about this location

View on Google Maps

Get directions

Street Address

Whangarei Hospital
2 Hospital Road

Postal Address

Whangarei Hospital
Private Bag 9742
Whangarei 0148

This page was last updated at 3:45PM on June 12, 2018. This information is reviewed and edited by Northland DHB Rheumatology Service.