Sub menu


Rheumatology is a branch of medicine that deals with the investigation, diagnosis and management of people living with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, that primarily affect the joints, muscles and bones. 

Services provided

Rheumatologists treat patients with inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), connective tissues diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE), vasculitis such as Giant Cell Arteritis, metabolic bone disorders such as osteoporosis and soft tissue rheumatism such as tennis elbow. Other conditions covered include gout, polymyalgia rheumatica, nerve entrapment (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) and inflammatory back pain.

One of the main priorities of the rheumatology department is the assessment and treatment of patients who may be developing an inflammatory arthritis, such as RA. As rapid diagnosis and early treatment has been shown to improve outcome and dramatically reduce long-term problems, disability and loss of employment, we aim to see patients with suspected inflammatory arthritis within three weeks through weekly Early Arthritis Clinics at West Suffolk Hospital. Overall, we have one of the shortest waiting lists for new patients in East Anglia.


Our team and contacts

Dr Shweta Bhagat, lead consultant - 01284 712977

Dr Vivek Rajagopal, consultant 

Dr Catherine Bevington, consultant - 01284 713484

Dr Mark Sykes, consultant - 01284 713440

Dr Katerina Achilleos, consultant - 01284 713484

Specialist registrar – rotating post through East of England Deanery

Ruth Slack, speciailist nurse 

Jackie Hughes, specialist nurse

Nicola Wood, specialist nurse

Bridget Stevenson, specialist nurse

Rheumatology nurses and patient advice line - 01284 713707.

  • Messages should be left on the answer phone and one of our staff will respond either the same day or the next working day.


Location of departments

Rheumatology clinics at West Suffolk Hospital are held in the main outpatients department daily and we are open weekdays, 8.00am - 5.00pm.

Clinics are also held in community locations at:

  • Newmarket Community Hospital
  • Thetford Healthy Living Centre
  • Sudbury Health Centre
  • Haverhill Health Centre
  • Stowhealth Surgery, Stowmarket
  • Botesdale Health Centre


Patient information