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Northland DHB Rheumatology Service

Public Service, Rheumatology


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 Whangārei Hospital.

Referral Expectations

Inpatient Care
There is no inpatient Rheumatology Service in Northland. Inpatient care is provided at Whangārei 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 Whangārei Hospital only.

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

Common Conditions

  • Osteoarthritis (OA)

    Osteoarthritis (OA) More

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

    Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) More

  • Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia 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

  • Gout

    Gout More

Contact Details

Middlemore Hospital
Hospital Road

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Street Address

Middlemore Hospital
Hospital Road

Postal Address

Whangārei Hospital
Private Bag 9742
Whangārei 0148

This page was last updated at 9:07AM on December 17, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Northland DHB Rheumatology Service.