Rheumatology Department - Information for Health Professionals

Our services

We provide specialist care for patients 16 years of age and over with rheumatic disease. We manage and treat illnesses such as: 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Ankylosing spondylitis 
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Vasculitis (Dr Sammel)
  • Crystal arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Infective arthritis
  • Autoimmune connective tissue diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, Sjogren syndrome and scleroderma
  • Inflammatory eye disease (Dr Sammel)
  • Myositis 
  • Other inflammatory conditions such as sarcoidosis, behcet and IgG4-related disease.

We also have a specialised vasculitis clinic for the management of diseases such as:

  • Giant cell (temporal) arteritis
  • Takayasu arteritis
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • ANCA associated vasculitis
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegner Granulomatosis)
  • Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Churg Strauss syndrome)
  • Microscopic polyangiitis
  • IgA / Henoch Schonlein Purpura
  • Connective tissue disease vasculitis
  • Drug-induced vasculitis
  • Infective and post-infective vasculitis
  • Cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis
  • Behcet and autoinflammatory vasculitis
  • IgG4 vasculitis
  • Cutaneous vasculitis
  • Periaortitis / idiopathic retroperitoneal fibrosis
  • Cogan Syndrome
  • Organ limited (CNS, visceral, isolated aortitis).

Our clinic is located in the Adult Outpatients Department, Campus Centre Building, Prince of Wales Hospital (building 16 on our campus map). Information about how to get to our Randwick campus

Clinic Name

Clinic Day

Clinic Time

General rheumatology new patient clinic - Consultant/ Registrar (Dr Bertouch, A/Prof Damodaran, Dr Katrib, Dr Sammel

Tuesday

1.00-5.00pm

Vasculitis specialised clinic - Dr Anthony Sammel (OP)

Tuesday

8.30am-1.00pm

Rheumatology Post Discharge Clinic - Registrar with Consultant oversight

Thursdays

9.00am-12.00pm

General rheumatology follow up clinic - Consultant/ Registrar (Dr Bertouch, A/Prof Damodaran, Dr Katrib, Dr Sammel Friday 9.00am-12.00pm

Name

Subspecialty

Dr James Bertouch

Head of Department of Rheumatology, Senior Staff Specialist, POWH.
Conjoint Lecturer, UNSW

A/Prof. Arvin Damodaran

Clinical Academic Rheumatologist, POWH.
Director, Clinical Teaching Unit, POW Clinical School.
Associate Professor, UNSW

Dr Amel Katrib

Senior Staff Specialist Rheumatology, POWH.
Conjoint Senior Lecturer, UNSW

Dr Anthony Sammel

Staff Specialist Rheumatology & Vasculitis, POWH & SSEH.
Conjoint Lecturer, UNSW

Inclusion criteria 

  • Your patient has one of the following diagnoses or suspected diagnoses: Inflammatory (RA/SLE/systemic sclerosis/seronegative/sarcoid), infective, crystal or degenerative/mechanical Arthritides; Antiphospholipid syndrome; Vasculitides; Inflammatory myopathies.

  • Your patient resides within the POWH catchment area, except for the specialty Vasculitis clinic (patients outside the catchment area may be seen at the discretion of Dr Sammel).We receive the following test results with your referral:

  • FBC, UEC, LFT, ESR, CRP blood tests at minimum

  • Additional blood tests where relevant to referral reason, including urate, CK, TFT, BSL, CMP, Vit D, ANA/ ENA/ DNA/ RF/ CCP/ ANCA

  • Radiology reports relevant to referral. 

If your patient requires urgent review, please contact the Rheumatology registrar within the business hours of 9.00am-4.00pm. Otherwise, your referral must provide detailed clinical information. This will assist us in appropriately triaging your patient due to long waitlists and limited appointment capacity

Exclusion criteria* 

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • ANA </= 320 if main reason for referral
  • Out of area referrals 

*Due to our limited resources and capacity (there may be exceptions in our vasculitis clinic). 

If your patient is eligible for treatment, please use this referral form. Fax the referral form to (02) 9382 0422.

All mandatory information must be complete. The referral form ensures that you do not miss any mandatory information to enable a timely and appropriate referral.

Mandatory information for public and private referrals

You may receive a fax requesting a review of your referral if any of the following information is missing:

  • Patient details, including full name, date of birth, phone number and Medicare number
  • Consultant name (for private referrals)
  • Clinic name 
  • Next of Kin details
  • Reason for referral 
  • Diagnosis 
  • Clinical urgency
  • Test results, as described under 'Referral criteria'
  • Correspondence letters (including diagnosis) from previous Rheumatologists when transferring care to our Outpatient Department

Private referrals (bulk-billed through Medicare)

All patients have the right to choose to be treated as a public or private patient for outpatient attendances. If your patient chooses to be treated privately and bulk-billed through Medicare, your referral must meet the following criteria:

  • You must address the referral to one Consultant from our Specialist team, not the hospital, clinic, outpatient department or JMO
  • You must sign and date the referral, and include your provider number and practice address
  • You must state the period of referral in months, or refer “indefinitely”
  • You must provide this referral on or prior to the appointment date.

We cannot process your referral if it does not meet the above criteria prior to your patient's initial appointment.

Your patient can choose to amend your referral on the day of their initial appointment. If you provide a private referral that is addressed to a Consultant, your patient may choose to: 

  • Seek treatment from another provider within our team and change the Consultant's name on the referral themselves, or
  • Decide to be treated as a public patient for their initial appointment, for which the private referral will be valid.

Please note that it is also inappropriate for our administration team to recommend a Consultant for your patient. We have listed the names and specialties of our Consultants to help you decide on the most appropriate practitioner. 

Please address your referral to one of our Consultants: 

  • Dr James Bertouch, Rheumatology Outpatients, Prince of Wales Hospital
  • A/Prof Arvin Damodaran, Rheumatology Outpatients, Prince of Wales Hospital
  • Dr Amel Katrib, Rheumatology Outpatients, Prince of Wales Hospital
  • Dr Anthony Sammel, Rheumatology Outpatients, Prince of Wales Hospital

Urgent referrals 

If your patient needs to be seen urgently, please call the Prince of Wales Hospital switchboard on (02) 9382 2222 and ask to speak with the Rheumatology Registrar between the business hours of 9.00am-4.00pm. 

Who will contact your patient to schedule an appointment?

Our Administration team will send your patient a letter by post with their appointment details. If their need is urgent, they may be contacted by phone. 

Who can you contact to follow up on a referral? 

You may contact the Outpatients Department on (02) 9382 0400 to follow up on a referral.

What is the process if a patient misses or cancels their appointment?

If your patient needs to change or cancel their appointment they should phone (02) 9382 0400. Our Administration team will send a confirmation letter of their new appointment time via post. Your patient will be contacted via phone if their need is urgent. 

If an initial appointment is missed, we will not rebook your patient until we receive a new referrals that satisfies all criteria above.

    We are a Medicare service. You must provide a referral that is addressed to one of our Specialist team if your patient wishes to be bulk-billed.