Step 3 – seeing the specialist for the first time following referral
At Step 3 you’ll see your specialist (most likely a consultant rheumatologist) for the first time. You may get a firm diagnosis during your first visit, but inflammatory arthritis is sometimes difficult to diagnose in the very early stages. No single test can tell you if you have rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis, so you may need further tests and visits to get to reach a diagnosis.
The links below will give you help with this step in your pathway and direct you to other organisations that can provide more information. This includes information on:
- your first appointment with the specialist and how to prepare
- possible treatments
- personal care plans
- the healthcare professionals who may be involved in your treatment
You may also be interested in the following general information:
An Arthritis Research UK guide to the members of the rheumatology team.
Guides from the Patient Association called Consultant Checklist and You and Your Doctor. These will help you prepare for your appointment in advance.
Understanding NICE guidance (RA) is designed to help you understand the care and treatment options that should be available in the NHS for those with rheumatoid arthritis.
We suggest that you think about and make a note of everything you want to know before your first visit to see the specialist. This will help to ensure that all of your questions are answered during the consultation. It might be helpful to take a friend or family member with you too, as they may remember things afterwards that you didn’t take in.