Physical branch meetings are currently cancelled due to COVID-19. However there are virtual activities being run by some branches. Please contact your local branch for more information.

We hope you find the information on these pages helpful. Our team is working tirelessly to provide up to date advice in relation to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. Record numbers of people are now turning to NASS for support, and we hope to be here for everyone. Our helpline and advice service are only possible thanks to donations from people like you.

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Our Medical Advisors

Meet the team of medical advisors who help inform all our work

NASS has a team of medical advisors who help inform all our work

Professor Karl Gaffney (Chair)

Professor Karl Gaffney (MB, BCh, BAO Hons, FRCPI, FRCP) has been a Consultant Rheumatologist in Norwich since 1995. With NASS he has co-developed primary and secondary care educational programmes for healthcare professionals including Back Pain Seminars, Meeting in a Box, Back in Focus, Solving Spondyloarthritis and Back Pain Plus. These initiatives have been awarded national and European awards for excellence in healthcare communication.

His current research interests include epidemiology, dose optimisation and extra-articular manifestations of axial SpA. He oversees a large clinical trials programme and collaborates with other national and international centres. He has published more than 100 papers and has been an invited speaker at national and international meetings.

Colin Beevor RN (Rheumatology Nurse Advisor)

Colin is Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist for Rheumatology Services and Matron/ Service Manager for Musculoskeletal Services (Rheumatology, Spinal Services and Chronic Pain Clinic) at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. He has 17 years experience in rheumatology nursing and a wide range of nursing management at ward, outpatient, and clinical nurse specialist levels. In 2009 Colin joined the RCN Rheumatology Forum as committee member and also sits on the medical and health care professional advisory boards for Arthritis Care and Fibromyalgia

Dr Alexander Bennett (Rheumatology Advisor)

Dr Alexander Bennett is a Consultant Rheumatologist at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds and at Imperial College London. His main area of clinical rheumatology and research interest is spondyloarthritis. His PhD was in diagnostic and prognostic imaging in spondyloarthritis and he has published and lectured at national and international conferences in this area. He is a member of International Society of Assessment in Ankylosing Spondylitis (ASAS) and is part of the ASAS MRI working Group.

Dr. Antoni Chan

Antoni is a Consultant Rheumatologist at the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust and a long-term supporter of NASS. He is the lead clinician for the Aspiring to Excellence team in Reading, which aims to encourage and recognise service improvement in axial SpA (AS) care. In 2018 he won the NASS Patient Choice Award for best care by a rheumatologist and in January 2020 he spoke at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on axial SpA.

Clare Clark (Occupational Therapy Advisor)

Clare is an Advanced Practitioner in Occupational Therapy.  She works in The Centre for Long Term Condition Management in Bronllys Hospital, Powys Teaching Health Board, Brecon, Wales.  Clare specialises in the bio-psychosocial approach. She has a particular interest in AS and the impact that living with this condition has on an individual.  She has written articles and lectured on this at various local and national Conferences.  Her previous roles have included developing a Therapy Led AS clinic; she is the Welsh Rep for the College of OT Rheumatology Special Interest Group and is also a member of BHPR.

Claire Harris (Physiotherapy Advisor)

Claire qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist in 1984 at St Mary’s Hospital, London. Claire works at Northwick Park Hospital where she is a Senior Physiotherapist in the AS clinic and runs the local NASS group. Her current responsibilities include the assessment of AS patients being treated with anti-TNF and AS education groups. Claire is also Chair of AStretch, a group of UK physiotherapists that steer the management and improve the understanding of AS. Claire also advised NASS on our 2019 inquiry via the APPG into the current services in the UK and worked on some of our most useful resources such as Back to Action and our exercise videos.

Claire Jeffries (Physiotherapy Advisor)

Claire is Physiotherapy Manager and Clinical Specialist in Hydrotherapy and Rheumatology working for Solent NHS Trust. She has worked in the field of rheumatology since 2003. Working both in primary and secondary care clinics for Axial Spondyloarthritis Claire has a unique position of facilitating holistic care across the whole patient journey, from exercise management through to biologic care and self-management techniques.

Claire is a founding member of AStretch (the national group of specialists physiotherapists working in AxSpA) and has an extensive catalogue of teaching for all members of the multidisciplinary team on the physiotherapy management of AxSpA

Dr Helena Marzo-Ortega (Rheumatology Advisor)

Dr Marzo-Ortega is a Consultant Rheumatologist for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Leeds. She is the Clinical Lead of the Spondyloarthropathy service at the Section of Musculoskeletal Disease and the Clinical Lead for the MSK Specialty Group of the West Yorkshire UKCRN CLRN. Her main areas of interest are within the field of early arthritis, undifferentiated arthritis and spondyloarthritis including Psoriatic arthritis, with a special focus on the role of imaging biomarkers and biologic therapies.

Dr Daniel Murphy (GP Advisor)

Dr Murphy works both as a rheumatologist at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, and a GP in Honiton, a rural town in Devon.  His clinical interests are in spondyloarthropathy and sports medicine, and in improving communication between hospital rheumatology specialists and General Practitioners. He has an active interest in the field of spondyloarthritis research, and was a co-author of the recent BSR guideline in the use of biologic drugs in axial spondyloarthritis.

Dr Raj Sengupta (Rheumatology Advisor)

Dr Raj Sengupta is a Consultant Rheumatologist at The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath (RNRHD) and The BMI Bath Clinic in Bath. Dr Sengupta completed his specialty training in Bath and Bristol. His specialist and research interests are in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and he has published on the subject in peer reviewed international journals.

Dr Louise Warburton (GP Advisor)

Dr Louise Warburton is a GP with a special interest in Rheumatology , heading up an integrated rheumatology and musculoskeletal service in Telford. She is also an associate medical director of Shropshire community NHs Trust and an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Keele. She has been involved in the NICE Guidelines for Spondyloarthritis.

Dr Steven Zhao (Junior Rheumatology Advisor)

Dr Sizheng Steven Zhao is a rheumatologist and epidemiologist at Liverpool University Hospitals. His research interests are focused on spondyloarthritis, comorbidities and research methodology, working closely with Aberdeen and Harvard universities. He is a member of the executive committee for the British Society for Spondyloarthritis, associate member of the International Society of Assessment in Spondyloarthritis, and sits on the editorial board and media committee for the journal Rheumatology.

Associate member

Dr. Athimalaipet Ramanan (Paediatric Rheumatologist)

Dr Ramanan is a consultant paediatric rheumatologist at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Disease’s in Bath. His Unit currently provides a service for the entire South West of England and parts of South Wales. They do outreach clinics in Exeter, Taunton, Torbay, Salisbury and Swansea. He has published more than 25 papers in peer reviewed international journals. His current research focus is on immunogenetics of systemic onset juvenile arthritis, macrophage activation syndrome and juvenile dermatomyositis. he is the Associate Editor for the musculoskeletal section of the National Library of Health.


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