News - Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases



axSpA Patient Information webinars 2024 - Register here

24 June 2024

Invitation to join us online, via Zoom, for a series of axial Spondyloarthritis (axSpA) Patient Information webinars.

 Series of x4 1-hour webinars aimed to help patients deepen their understanding and management of axSpA.

 Would you like to know more about axial Spondyloarthritis (axSpA)? Join our free patient information webinar series led by Professor Raj Sengupta, Consultant Rheumatologist, Clinical Lead for axial Spondyloarthritis, Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath.

Over 4 dates each hour-long ...

Mental Health in Rheumatic Diseases - new podcast published

1 March 2024

NEW PODCAST PUBLISHED: BIRD talks to Professor Emma Dures about the impact of rheumatic disease on people’s mental health. In this podcast we aim to help people who have rheumatic conditions with aspects of symptom self-management and wellbeing. We also have other podcasts for wellbeing including nutrition, fatigue and others.

Visit our BIRD podcast web page to find this new podcast as well as others:


Research at the RNHRD - Programme

19 February 2024

Here is a link to the RNHRDResearch event 2024programme

Any queries please email:

This event is fully booked, but there is a waiting list. Please email the address above to be added to the waiting list or to cancel.

Many thanks,

The BIRD Team

Osteoporosis Patient webinar March 2024

25 January 2024

Join us for a Patient information webinar on Osteoporosis. These webinars, via Zoom, are designed to help you understand and manage your condition better.

March 14 – 10.30 am until 12.30am

Speakers will include consultants from the RNHRD.

Register via the link below and more details and links will be sent nearer the time:

We look forward to welcoming you.

Any queries, please email:


BIRD nominated in the South West Business & Community Awards

25 January 2024

A nomination for Charity of the Year in the South West Business Awards. Thank you. We are in great company with the other charities nominated, congratulations to them as well. 🎉 We look forward to the awards next week. GBEXPOSTANDS (GB Group 21 Ltd) #SWBCAwards

As part of the award is the development of our podcasts for patients. Go to our Podcasts for Patients to find our fill list of rheumatology conditions covered.

BIRD Annual Report March 2022-March 2023 Published

19 December 2023

The BIRD Annual Report and Accounts is now published for March 2023 to March 2023.

You can view a copy via a flip book on this link:

Or via pdf on our ‘About Us‘ page.

Public Event - Showcasing research projects at the RNHRD

12 December 2023

You are invited to attend a BIRD event where the RNHRD will showcase some of the rheumatology research projects it’s involved in. The event is free and open to anyone.

Monday 25th March from 6pm

Venue: Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Queen Square, Bath.

Register here to receive further details of the programme and book your space:


'Highly Commended' for Mel Brooke, BIRD in local awards

17 November 2023

At BIRD we are very happy to share and celebrate Melanie (Brooke) Turfrey, BIRD Patient and Public Engagement Director, receiving ‘Highly Commended’ in the Bath & North East Somerset Community Leader Award category. Mel has made an outstanding difference to the lives of patients with rheumatic diseases in Bath, NE Somerset and West Wiltshire (also around the UK) through her role as Patient and Public Engagement Director at Bath Institute ...

New 'Persistent Pain' podcasts published

13 November 2023

In two podcasts Mel Brooke talks about pain with Dr Ben Davies, Advanced Physiotherapist Practitioner, RNHRD. Topics range from understanding the history of how pain is viewed, to discussing how to still be ‘you’ when coping with long term pain with rheumatology conditions.

At the RNHRD Research Showcase event in March this year Dr Ben Davies gave this talk and at BIRD we felt that a podcast would be useful so that many more people can have ...

axSpA Patient Information Webinar - register here

2 November 2023

To register for our forthcoming axSpA patient information webinars please use the following Eventbrite link to secure your place. The webinars will be on Zoom.

Webinar Series Overview:

We are offering a series of four distinct themed webinars, allowing individuals to attend based on their specific interests and needs. There is no obligation to attend all four; participants are welcome to choose the sessions that align with their preferences and requirements. (More details of ...

BIRD patient podcast library reaches over 20,000 listens

25 October 2023

Our podcast library to help patients better understand and manage their rheumatology condition now has over 50 episodes. As well as covering many different specific conditions we also have podcasts to help with wellbeing. Visit our Patient Podcast page for the full list:
We are very pleased this is proving a popular resource for patients and our thanks to all the speakers from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases and other organisations.

New British Society for Rheumatology Guidelines for Myositis

28 September 2023

We are delighted to have published 2 more new podcasts to add to our patient information library:

The New British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) Guidelines for Myositis with Dr Sarah Tansley.

Over 2 episodes Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director (BIRD) talks with expert guest Dr Sarah Tansley, Consultant Rheumatologist at the RNHRD (Bath) and Senior Clinical Lecturer at Bath University. Sarah explains what the BSR guidelines are, who they are for and what they contain. ...

BIRD added to the University of Bath Roll of Honour

17 September 2023

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, KG GCVO and Chancellor of the University of Bath signs BIRD’s entry to the University’s Roll of Honour at the Guildhall in Bath.  Shane O’Reilly, Chair of the Education and Engagement Committee, Patient trustee (left) and Celia Mead, Executive Director (right) look on. Shane said: “We are thrilled that our support for research into rheumatic diseases is recognised in this way and we remain committed to research collaboration in the future with the University”.

'Nutrition, Diet and Arthritis'. New podcasts published

31 August 2023

We are really pleased to release 2 new patient podcasts: ‘Nutrition, Diet and Arthritis’. These 2 episodes add to our podcast topics covering wellbeing for patients with rheumatic conditions. Previously published podcasts discuss ‘Fatigue’, ‘Sleep’ and ‘Social Prescribing’. We hope you enjoy listening and find them useful.

We always appreciate feedback on our podcasts, either through the survey that appears at the end of the podcasts on Spotify or via an email. Patient engagement is very important to us, so ...

BIRD Newsletter now available in the RNHRD Reception

27 June 2023

If you are a patient at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) or the Therapies Centre at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, have a look in their receptions for our Summer Newsletter. We hope that the newsletter will help patients understand the work of BIRD, guide them to our podcast library to help them manage their condition and also encourage them to get involved in research.

A copy of the Newsletter can also be viewed here:

New film published to introduce BIRD and our work

16 May 2023

BIRD recently attended the annual British Society for Rheumatology conference and were able to showcase who we are and our work. Click on the link below to view the video presentation.



New BIRD Case Study published: BIRD during the Covid 19 Pandemic

6 April 2023

During the Covid 19 Pandemic BIRD’s patient engagement programme was effectively cancelled as we used to hold in person ‘Patient Information’ events. The events aimed to educate and give patients knowledge and confidence to be able to manage their rheumatology condition. However, this obviously had to stop during the pandemic.

This Case Study ‘BIRD during the Covid 19 Pandemic’ is the latest in our series of different case studies which showcase different elements of the BIRD Patient Engagement Programme  (

Understanding new treatment guidelines, new podcasts published

28 March 2023

We are really pleased to release a new set of 3 podcasts, which are slightly different to our existing podcast episodes. Three new podcasts aim to update patients on the latest treatment guidelines for Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) and Osteoarthritis (OA). If you have already listened to our other podcasts in these condition series, then these latest ones will also be helpful for you when managing your condition.

Listen to them via our podcast page.

Episode details:

BIRD at the Bath Life Awards

24 March 2023

Some of the BIRD Team were delighted to attend the Bath Life Awards last night. We were Finalists in the Charity category, included in this group were other wonderful local charities and congratulations to Bath Welcomes Refugees who were the eventual winners. However, BIRD received ‘Highly Commended’ which we are delighted with. Our nomination focused on the success of our growing Patient Information Podcast library for rheumatology conditions. So, thank you to all those involved in the programme, speakers and ...

Programme published for RNHRD Research Showcase event 25th March

13 March 2023

RNHRD Research Showcase Event

11am to 4pm 25th March – Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute (BRSLI), 16-18 Queen Square, Bath

This is the first time that the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), Royal United Hopsital Bath, has hosted such an event, with support from BIRD, GW4 and the University of Bath. Consultants and researchers from the RNHRD will give talks on different topics (see the programme) and there will also be research posters available to view. Early ...

BBC coverage of research funded by BIRD

7 March 2023

Really good to see the results of a study partly funded by BIRD receiving coverage. This was also one of the research study participation invites that we shared with our followers a while ago, so thank you to anyone who contributed.

Here’s the link to the news article:

Get involved in research with BIRD

16 January 2023

At BIRD we aim to give patients the opportunity and confidence to become involved in rheumatology research projects. Throughout the year, through our mailing list and social media, we post research questionnaires or invites to become involved in projects. Also, Researchers approach BIRD for help and advice on engagement in research with patient priority in mind. To help tell the story of our involvement in research we’ve curated two case studies to showcase our work. 1 from the perspective of ...

RNHRD Research Showcase event 25th March

11 January 2023

RNHRD Research Showcase event

BIRD is pleased to be supporting this new event. We will be there with a stand and the RNHRD is leading the content for the day. You do need to register to attend, details are as follows:

Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Saturday 25th March, 2023

The University of Bath, in conjunction with the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), GW4, and the Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD), is ...

Calling all RNHRD staff: Bursaries available for EULAR and BSR

9 January 2023

Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD) is keen to encourage health professionals based in the RNHRD to attend BSR and EULAR in 2023 as part of encouraging all clinical staff to be research-active and the RNHRD’s reputation for research excellence. Bursaries are available for virtual registration fees.

BSR (Manchester and online) 24-26 April 2023


EULAR (Milan and online) 31 May-3 June 2023

To apply email Celia Mead, Executive Director, BIRD by February 28, ...

BIRD Co-hosts 3rd Skin@Bath Symposium

23 December 2022

BIRD were delighted to co-host the third Skin@Bath Network Symposium with 170 participants from 13 countries, 103 of which attended the event in person despite challenges of cold weather, icy roads and train strikes. Over 55 talks and 26 posters were presented within two days by prestigious national and international clinicians, healthcare professionals and scientists as well as early career researchers, medical trainees and postgraduate students.  Thanks to Professor Ian White, Vice Chancellor ...

New Fibromyalgia podcast series published

19 December 2022

BIRD’s latest podcast series is now available for patients with fibromyalgia. In a series of 4 podcasts we talk to experts from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), Bath UK. Visit our podcast for patients page to listen.

Episode details:

Episode 1: Fibromyalgia Syndrome with Dr Maddy Piper

39 minutes

Join us for this first episode in our podcast series about Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS).  Listen along to the discussion as ...

Pain video - from our axSpA webinar

8 December 2022

In our recent axSpA webinar, Dr Ben Davies didn’t have time to show a video during his presentation. Here is the link to the pain video.

Feedback news from our recent axSpA patient webinar

5 December 2022

Our thanks to everyone who attended our recent axSpA webinar. It was lovely to welcome you. This was BIRD’s second axSpA webinar, the first in 2021. The attendance figures were significantly higher than 2021 and we are glad the webinars are proving a useful tool for patients living with axSpA.

Dr Raj Sengupta, (Consultant RNHRD) talked patients through an overview of axSpA and recent research finding. Dr Thomas Williams (Consultant, Great Western Hospitals) presented on medications for axSpA and Dr ...

Join us for a Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) webinar in January 2023

22 November 2022

Join us for our Patient Information Zoom webinar for Psoriatic Arthritis. BIRD will be joined by specialist consultant speakers from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), Bath. During the webinar topics covered will be an overview of PsA, medications, treatments, research and others. There will also be a Q&A at the end of the session. Our aim is to help you better understand and manage PsA and give you more confidence when speaking to your healthcare providers in ...

New Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) podcast published in the PsA series

31 October 2022

To co-incide with Psoriasis Awareness week 2022 BIRD has published an extra PsA podcast episode for our existing PsA podcast library.  This extra episode talks about the ways you can self-manage the skin symptoms of Psoriasis.  Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director (BIRD) talks with expert guest Dr Charlotte Gollins, Dermatology Registrar and clinical research fellow at the RNHRD, RUH, Bath who talks us through some basic background information, sub-types of Psoriasis and treatments that ...

New Sjogren's patient information podcasts published

26 October 2022

Two new patient information podcasts published for Sjogren’s. Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director (BIRD) talks with expert guest Dr Victoria Flower, Consultant Rheumatologist at the RNHRD (Bath) who explains about the symptoms that people with this condition can experience and the types of diagnostic techniques used, as well as medications and treatments.

Visit our Patient Podcast page to listen, or via your usual listening platform.

BIRD podcast library featured in the local press

24 October 2022

We were very happy to see news of our podcast listening figures celebration featured in the local Bath press.

Celia Mead, our Director was also interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol Breakfast show.

You can listen using the link to the show here:

The interview was between 9.42am-9.52am on sat 15th Oct so scroll along the bar at the bottom of the screen until you get to 3 hours 42mins and 42 seconds. The interview was approx 10mins and ...

BIRD Celebrates over 10,000 listens to its patient podcasts

11 October 2022

Offering help with rheumatic diseases

This month, Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD) celebrates over 10, 000 listens of its Podcast Library which provides information to patients, families and carers on advances in treatments, therapies and how to live well with the symptoms of different rheumatic diseases. This is approximately 500% more patients reached each year than through BIRD’s previous programme of live events.

Thirty-six podcasts have been produced since 2020 on individual ...

BIRD September 2022 Newsletter

16 September 2022

Please click here to see our latest newsletter with lots of BIRD Charity news to report.

BIRD's Summer Studentship 2022

18 August 2022

BIRD, in collaboration with the University of Bath and local experts at the RNHRD, funded another successful summer student scholarship. BIRD funded £3, 120 for the studentship which was hosted by the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath.

This year, BIRD’s 2022 summer student, Louis Godtfredsen, worked with lead supervisor, Dr Christopher Clarke, and co-supervisors, Dr Dario Cazzola & Dr Raj Sengupta, on the project ‘Automating the BASMI Measurement Using Pose Tracking on a Smartphone’.

The aim ...

Lupus patient information podcasts now available

21 July 2022

We are delighted to announce that our new series for Lupus is now available to listen too. There are 3 podcasts designed to help patients better understand and manage Lupus:

Episode one (23 minutes): Lupus an overview with Dr Ellie Korendowych

Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director (BIRD) talks with expert guest Dr Ellie Korendowych, Consultant Rheumatologist at the RNHRD (Bath) who explains about the symptoms that people with this ...

Join our patient research panel

16 June 2022

Are you interested in joining our Patient Research Panel? It’s a small group whom we email and meet over Zoom once a year. The patient panel helps us to help rheumatology researchers gain patient insight into designing rheumatology research projects? It’s not a big commitment, just reading through the occasional document or survey and commenting from your patient perspective. Mel Brooke our Patient Engagement Director leads the group and it’s very friendly and informal. Email: if you are ...

Bursaries for RNHRD AHPs to attend BSR and EULAR

9 June 2022

BIRD funded two clinicians to attend the key annual conference run by the British Society for Rheumatology in Glasgow at the end of April, as part of a new bursary scheme to help early career stage specialists take up research.  Jade Skeates, Team Lead, Rheumatology Physiotherapy at the RNHRD, said: “I chaired my first conference session, and it was great to see the session I had proposed and facilitated come together, reaching over 350 people.  I attended updates on Spondyloarthritis, ...

Arthur Clark Community Fund donation

26 May 2022

Our sincere thanks to the Arnold Clark Community Fund for their generous donation of £1000 towards our BIRD Patient Engagement Programme. Arnold Clark is the UK’s largest independently family owned car retailer and their community fund supports local communities throughout the UK. Again, thank you from BIRD. #ArnoldClarkCommunityfund

Patient Case Studies showcase the Patient Engagement Programme

16 May 2022

Our Patient Engagement Programme Director, Mel Brooke has been speaking to 3 patients who have very kindly agreed to share their experiences of their rheumatology condition and how BIRD resources have helped them. Please do have a read and visit our BIRD patient podcast page.

Our sincere thanks to the Case Studies contributors.

AS Case Study

AS Case Study 2

PsA Case Study

BIRD Trustee vacancy

6 May 2022

Are you looking for a chance to use your life experience and skills to shape a small but successful charity?  Do you care about the future of BIRD?  We’re looking for two new trustees.  People with a rheumatic condition and/or without previous experience of trusteeship are very welcome, we will provide all the support you need.  Our goal is to keep Bath on the international map for rheumatology research through supporting arthritis research, education and patient engagement.  Our trustees are ...

Showcasing the BIRD Patient Engagement Programme at BSR 2022

5 May 2022

For the first time BIRD was delighted to be able to showcase our Patient Engagement programme at the British Society for Rheumatology Conference in Glasgow this year. Thanks to generous sponsorship from Lily we are able to promote and network for further patient engagement opportunities. It was also great to see many of our patient podcast speakers from the RNHRD, Bath at the conference, as well as make new connections.

We have plenty of new ideas and topics for podcasts ...

BIRD hosts 2 online patient information webinars

11 April 2022

BIRD would like to thank all the consultants and physiotherapy RNHRD speakers who contributed to our 2 latest patient information webinars. During March 2022 we hosted 2 online webinars, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA).

Each webinar covered topics such as an overview of the condition, medications, research and physiotherapy tips, with a Q&A session at the end. All the participants were extremely grateful to have the opportunity to learn and be able to ask questions to the consultants, ...

Osteoarthritis Patient Information Podcasts - new series launched

10 March 2022

BIRD has just published a new series of podcasts to add to our growing podcast library for rheumatology patients. We talk to consultants and specialist physiotherapists from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), Bath, UK. If you’d like to find out more about Osteoarthritis please listen via your favourite app or via our podcast page on this website:


The episodes are:

  1. Osteoarthritis: an overview with Dr William Tillett
  2. Osteoarthritis: medications and treatments with Dr William ...

RA & PsA Patient Information Webinars: Register your interest

7 February 2022

BIRD is pleased to announce 2 new Information Webinars:

16th March 2022 AM – Rheumatoid Arthritis

23rd March 2022 2-4.30pm – Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Each webinar will involve consultants from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) discussing an overview of the condition, medications and latest research. Specialist physiotherapists will give advice. Join us for an informal webinar to help you understand and manage your condition better.

To register your interest please click on the following links or email: ...

New 'Fatigue' podcast published

13 January 2022

In this episode of our podcasts to help people who have rheumatic conditions with aspects of symptom self-management and wellbeing, Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director (BIRD) talks with Sandi Derham who is a Rheumatology Occupational Therapist, Clinical Specialist at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases at the RUH, Bath.  Sandi talks about the symptoms and impacts of fatigue and shares some useful tips and advice to help you self-manage it.

Visit our podcast page to listen: ...

BIRD’s innovation award covered in the Dermatologist

13 January 2022

The Dermatologist interviewed BIRD’s executive director about the recent award of the Amgen Uplift Innovation award, see link here:



Apply for this year's Summer Studentship!

10 January 2022

BIRD is the local charity working with patients to fund arthritis research and education in Bath and is pleased to announce it is funding another summer student scholarships. The studentships are run in conjunction with the University of Bath and colleagues at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD).

The University of Bath has a long-standing and internationally recognized reputation for high quality research with an overall aim of improved healthcare outcomes and the RNHRD has a ...

Research Update & News: Patient involvement

6 December 2021

Dr Prasad Nishtala from University of Bath got in touch with us in 2020/2021 to invite our research motivated patients in BIRD’s network to share views on a project looking at “Artificial intelligence for identifying new disease clusters in patients with immune-mediated inflammatory disease (AI-IMID)” Dr Nishtala told us that a broad team of experts in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) and experts in artificial intelligence (AI) were collaborating and putting together a ...

BIRD wins international award

19 November 2021

BIRD is thrilled to win the Amgen UPLIFT Innovation Challenge worth $25, 000 for its development of digital support for patients.  “Getting global recognition for the innovative response of our patient engagement programme during these difficult times is wonderful, ” said Celia Mead, Executive Director, “we will now be working on clinician led webinars and more social media promotion of our new podcasts to reach thousands more patients with psoriatic arthritis, deepening their knowledge, filling in gaps between appointments, building ...

New BIRD podcast published 'Sleep disturbance & tips'

9 November 2021

In this episode of our podcasts to help people who have rheumatic conditions with aspects of self-management and wellbeing, Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director (BIRD) talks with Sandi Derham who is a Rheumatology Occupational Therapist, Clinical Specialist at the RNHRD (Bath).  Sandi talks through the process of sleep, the importance of getting enough of it and the kinds of things that might disturb it. She then shares some tips and advice on how you might be able ...

Trustees’ Report shows excellent adaptation during the pandemic

3 November 2021

The Trustees of BIRD have finalised their Annual Report, praising the excellent adaption during the pandemic.  In particular BIRD switched to virtual delivery of professional education and patient information and spent an extra £20, 000 on extensions to research projects, where they were impacted by lab closures and difficulties in patient recruitment.

The key achievements over the last year were noted as:

  • The total amount of grants awarded for research into rheumatic diseases was £78, 824
  • 254 consultants, GPs, ...

New grant awarded to BIRD from the Hospital Saturday Fund (HSF)

29 October 2021

BIRD is delighted to receive £4, 000 from the Hospital Saturday Fund towards its Patient Engagement Programme.  “HSF were impressed with BIRD’s switch to online provision during the pandemic, in particular the development of podcasts and now webinars”.

Congratulations and thank you to Dr Ben Mulhearn

20 October 2021

Thank you to Dr Ben Mulhearn at the RNHRD from the team here for raising over £1200 for BIRD and many congratulations on completing the half marathon, injury free!

New Rheumatoid Arthritis podcast series now available

4 October 2021

Listen to our latest series of podcasts covering Rheumatoid Arthritis. In a series of 3 podcasts we talk to Dr Andrew Allard from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), Bath and Clare Jacklin from National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS). Topics cover an overview, medications, treatments and an update from NRAS. Many thanks to our speakers and we hope you enjoy listening. Visit our podcast website page for the full list of podcasts.

Call for Grant Applications in Rheumatology Research

2 September 2021

Call for Grant Applications in Rheumatology Research – Deadline 30th November 2021

Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD) exists to support arthritis research, education and patient engagement.  We fund research projects in rheumatic diseases which:

  • Help to promote and advance medical knowledge
  • Improve treatments for patients
  • Encourage collaboration between clinicians and research scientists

We look to award pump priming funding of small to medium-sized grants that would be ideally suited to pilot studies, preliminary research, tests of clinical effectiveness ...

BIRD's 1st ever online fundraising auction is now live!

28 July 2021

Today we launch BIRD’s first ever silent auction, running for 3 days until midnight on Friday 30th July.

Local companies have generously donated unique prizes for you to bid on.  Whether you are interested in relaxing at a Spa or want to enjoy fascinating views of Bath from a sky-high perspective, or just love fine dining, we have the prize to suit you.

The funds raised from this auction will help finance our research and patient engagement initiatives. You would therefore ...

Grant awarded to BIRD from Bath Boules Charitable Trust

22 July 2021

BIRD is delighted to have received £1000 from Bath Boules charitable trust to promote its upcoming Osteoarthritis podcasts and to make webinars for patients and their carers.  Good luck to all teams taking part in Bath Boules tomorrow!

Two research projects funded by BIRD publish papers

21 July 2021

The Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis Support Tool (POST) study.

Knee-related post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) is a type of osteoarthritis which affects young people with a history of joint injury including fracture, ligament rupture, joint dislocation, or meniscus tear.

The project set out to:

– Understand the lived experience of early-onset PTOA symptoms and medical care-seeking behaviours of young people with a history of knee joint injury.

– Develop and conduct initial evaluation of a symptom self-management tool to promote healthy behaviours (e.g., physical ...

New 'Social Prescribing' podcast published

20 July 2021

Self-Management & Wellbeing for people with rheumatic conditions: Social Prescribing

In this first episode of our podcast series about Self-Management and Wellbeing, Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director (BIRD) talks with Rachel Dawson, Social Prescribing Link Worker with the Minerva Primary Care Network. Rachel walks us through what Social Prescribing is, how to access it and ways it may be able to support you. Visit our podcast page to listen.

BIRD's first ever virtual auction - bid for prizes

15 July 2021

We are very excited to announce BIRD’s first ever virtual auction will be taking place from July 28th to 30th. We are gathering amazing experiences and prizes for you to bid on. This is a project led by students from the University of Bath and all funds raised will go towards our research and patient engagement programmes. More information on how to get involved will be coming very soon. Keep an eye on our Facebook page as ...

New BIRD Patient Research Panel

14 June 2021

We has been busy setting up BIRDs new ‘Patient Research Panel’. This is a group of research interested patients who we can contact from time to time to review, comment or get engaged in the requests for help or participation that come through BIRD.  The panel will be made up of people with a mix of rheumatic conditions who are open to various types of patient research engagement that might include a range of researcher requests to help with things ...

New Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) podcast series available

11 June 2021

Listen to our latest series of podcasts on Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). Visit our podcast page to find the 4 episodes:

Podcast 1. Psoriatic Arthritis – An overview with Dr Ellie Korendowych, Consultant Rheumatologist at the RNHRD, Bath.

Podcast 2. Psoriatic Arthritis – Medications and Research with Dr William Tillett, Consultant Rheumatologist at the RNHRD, Bath.

Podcast 3. Psoriatic Arthritis – why it’s important to stay active and how with Jade Skeates. Clinical and Team Lead, Rheumatology Physiotherapy, RNHRD, Bath.


Research News. PREVeNT RA a request for participants

11 June 2021

Research News 2: PREVeNT RA: A Nationwide register of first-degree relatives of patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to evaluate predictors of the development of RA

BIRD have been asked to let you know about the study above. The aim of the study is to identify risk factors for developing RA by studying people who are first-degree relatives of someone with RA, but do not themselves have RA. The study will look at the genetic, environmental and other factors to understand ...

Research update Mi-PART Study for Psoriatic Arthritis

11 June 2021

Research News 1: MI-PART Study

We are keeping track of the Mi-PART for Psoriatic Arthritis study that some BIRD followers will have participated in and asked the research team for an update we could share. It’s no surprise to hear that Covid has hampered recruitment but we heard the team at Bath University have done a sterling job and were able to recruit the bulk of the Bath cohort. In addition there have been 2 x London PsA cohorts and ...

New grant awarded to BIRD for podcasts

10 June 2021

BIRD are delighted to have received another grant for 2021 to continue to produce our rheumatology podcasts. This is the second grant we have received from Healthwatch BANES and is awarded to help develop new podcasts on different rheumatology conditions. Our sincere thanks to Healthwatch BANES for their continued support and also to the speakers from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) for participating. To date BIRD have published podcasts covering Myositis, Osteoporosis, Vasculitis, Young Adult Arthritis, ...

Call for Grant Applications in Rheumatology Research

1 April 2021

Call for Grant Applications in Rheumatology Research – Deadline 31st May 2021

Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD) exists to support arthritis research, education and patient engagement.  We fund research projects in rheumatic diseases which:

  • Help to promote and advance medical knowledge
  • Improve treatments for patients
  • Encourage collaboration between clinicians and research scientists

We look to award pump priming funding of small to medium-sized grants that would be ideally suited to pilot studies, preliminary research, tests of clinical ...

New Scleroderma Podcasts now published

30 March 2021

Listen to BIRD’s new series of 3 patient podcasts for Scleroderma. Scleroderma comes under the umbrella term for Systemic Sclerosis which also includes Raynaud’s phenomenon. We interview Dr John Pauling, Consultant Rheumatologist at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), Bath, UK, about symptoms, medications and research. Visit our podcast tab to find and listen to the podcasts. We hope you enjoy listening.

Just published, BIRD Information leaflet

12 March 2021

BIRD has just published it’s latest charity information leaflet. If you would like a printed or pdf version please email:

Introducing BIRD video highlighting our work

10 March 2021

Please see the following link to our YouTube video highlighting BIRD’s work for rheumatology research and patients.

A big thank you to Dr Ben Mulhearn, running to fundraise for BIRD

4 February 2021

Dr Ben Mulhearn, Rheumatology Clinical Academic Trainee, is running the Palma half marathon in October 2021 to raise funds for BIRD.  He says: “With family links to rheumatoid arthritis and working in the field (as well as having a dodgy knee), this is my way to both raise money for rheumatology research and raise awareness of the discipline of rheumatology, as well as having a great time while doing so”. BIRD is grateful for all donations, large and small, and will ...

Survey results from our guest, expert podcast speakers

28 January 2021

See the attached image for an infographic with the results from a recent survey to our guest expert podcast speakers. All BIRD podcasts are now available on a dedicated page on this BIRD website. Go to the podcasts page to listen to all our published podcasts. More are planned through 2021.

Can you help? Have you listened to any of the BIRD podcasts?

21 January 2021

If you have listened to any of the BIRD podcasts, we’d be grateful if you could spare the time to complete our feedback questionnaire. It should only take a few minutes and is anonymous. Questions centre around podcast topics and mental health. This will help us to find out what you need and to plan the programme for 2021

Thank you so much in advance.

Headline achievements from the BIRD annual report

20 January 2021

BIRD has published its headline achievements as a charity in filing its annual report for the year ending March 2020.  These were:

  • £105, 128 awarded for research into rheumatic diseases
  • 300 healthcare professional attendees at training sessions, meetings and events for consultants, clinicians, researchers and academics
  • 185 patient attendees at information days and 360 registered for newsletters. The total network reached via mailings and social media ad postings was 16, 909 patients and members of the public
  • 87% of ...

BIRD plans for 2021

7 January 2021

Happy New year from all at BIRD. 2020 was a different year for everyone and our Patient and Public Engagement Programme. Our usual calendar of events for different rheumatic conditions was obviously cancelled. However, the switch to podcasts has been wonderfully successful. There are now 5 series of podcasts covering Myositis, Osteoporosis, Young Adult Arthritis, Vasculitis and Axial Spondyloarthritis (AxSpA). To date the podcasts have been listened to nearly 4000 times, significantly expanding our reach. Our thanks to all the ...

Axial Spondyloarthritis podcasts published

11 December 2020

A new series of 5 podcasts aimed at patients with Axial Spondyloarthritis, and their carers and families has been produced by BIRD.  “We know patients are finding podcasts a useful way to learn more about their condition because we can see that hundreds of them are listening to every episode”, said Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director. Episodes cover an overview of Axial Spondyloarthritis and medications with Dr Raj Sengupta, Consultant Rheumatologist and Clinical Lead for Axial Spondyloarthritis. ...

Young Adult Arthritis podcast series now published

27 November 2020

This podcast series is aimed at providing useful information too young adults with rheumatology conditions and one podcast specifically for pregnancy planning.  In the first and second episode, Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director (BIRD) talks with rheumatology experts and specialist nurses about the process of transitioning from paediatric to adult rheumatology care and how a special clinic for young adults set up at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath helps with that process.  In this ...

Vasculitis podcast series now available to listen too

15 October 2020

Vasculitis; the Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases has launched an informative podcast series where we interview consultants and specialist healthcare experts from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases to help you learn about Vasculitis and understand how it can affect you.Our podcast series will give you an expert overview of vasculitis, the medications used to treat it and we talk to a Specialist Nurse from a special new Giant Cell Arthritis clinic.

Click on the link below to take you to the ...

BIRD's bird bath installed outside the new RNHRD building

10 September 2020

A new bird bath and art installation was craned into place outside the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases at the Royal United Hospital, Bath this morning, 10 September 2020.  It is dedicated to the donors supporting Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD) by funding scientific and clinical research since 1975.  BIRD will be organising an official ceremony later in the year which marks the charity’s relocation to the hospital site. The artwork is called ‘Ascending’ and was sculpted by ...

Award for early career research

21 August 2020

Congratulations to Jade Skeates for being chosen as the winner of the Clinical Award 2020 by the Heberden Committee for her abstract submitted to the British Society for Rheumatology Annual Conference 2020 entitled ‘Evaluation of a 10 week progressive resistance training programme for people with inflammatory arthritis’.  Jade has received a trophy and £250 as well as publication in the journal ‘Rheumatology’ and the opportunity to present her research at the Annual Conference in 2020.  Her abstract was accepted for ...

Osteoporosis Podcasts now available

11 August 2020

BIRD are delighted to publish our latest series of podcasts for Osteoporosis.

Podcast 1 Overview and medications with Dr Sarah Hardcastle

Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Programme Director (BIRD) asks Dr Sarah Hardcastle, Consultant Rheumatologist at the RNHRD (Bath) to tell us what is known about osteoporosis, how it is assessed and to talk about fractures, falls and other risks.  We also discuss what treatments exist and the lifestyle factors that can influence the condition.

Grant awarded to support a new series of podcasts

10 July 2020

Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD) has been awarded £4, 148 to make and promote a series of podcasts for patients by Healthwatch B&NES from their community pot.

Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement programme director for BIRD said: “We work closely with patients to deepen their understanding of their rheumatic disease and the latest research and treatment available through a well-established programme of information events.  We have had to put these on hold due to COVID ...

BIRD's contribution to 'Fibro Fog' Poster at EULAR 2020

7 July 2020

BIRD took part in a project to identify good questions for researchers to ask about Fibromyalgia ‘Fibro Fog’.  Mel Brooke, BIRD’s patient and public engagement programme Director, helped to organise and co-facilitate three patient workshops with Sandi Derham, Rheumatology Occupational Therapist Clinical Specialist RNHRD & NIHR Academy Member. The results were written up as an abstract submitted as a subject for a PARE (People with Arthritis and Rheumatism) poster for the annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) conference held virtually ...

It's Volunteers Week 2020 and we'd like to say a big THANK YOU!

1 June 2020

It’s Volunteers Week 2020 and we’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all our lovely volunteers who have helped us at information events, taken part in rheumatology research (including our online workshop) and those who have been helping to evaluate our new podcasts!

Grant applications for Rheumatology Research need to be received

18 May 2020

Don’t Forget! Grant applications for rheumatology research need to be received before the deadline 31st May 2020! If you are interested in applying please find our application form and grant awarding policy on

The test run for a PPE 'Virtual Workshop' complete!

27 April 2020

We are pleased to announce we have test run our very first PPE ‘virtual workshop’ – our thanks to the people who came forward to volunteer as a result of last week’s call out and those who participated. The theme was ‘Coping with a rheumatic condition during the Coronavirus lockdown’ and involved through a set of 5 main questions around feeling safe, feeling well, keeping active, mental wellbeing and access to treatment – all designed to initiate discussion and capture ...

Listen to our second Myositis themed podcast about keeping active

3 April 2020

Myositis Part 2: Keeping active – following on from our first podcast about the rheumatic condition Myositis, Jade Skeates, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, Rheumatology at the RNHRD, Bath talks to Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement Director (BIRD) about ways of keeping active with Myositis.

BIRD's new Myositis podcast

30 March 2020

BIRD’s new Public and Patient Engagement Podcast website. We are really pleased to have uploaded our first podcast for Myositis, which was an event due to take place on the 27th March. Please visit

On the podcast, listen to Dr Sarah Tansley talking to BIRD’s Mel Brooke about Myositis. The talk is 25 minutes long. Please do bear with us as we test all these new systems.

Below is a snapshot of what the page looks like, when ...

Update on BIRD PPE Information Days and Podcast Launch

27 March 2020

At BIRD we do hope you are all keeping well. We are all working from home now and testing out all sorts of new systems. As we do our best to continue to provide you with information on rheumatic diseases during this difficult and exceptional time, we have been working on bringing you alternative and innovative ways of accessing it without the risks currently associated with social gatherings. Celia Mead, BIRD’s Executive Director says:

“We must protect all our patients ...

Well done to our Bath Half Runners!

15 March 2020

Congratulations and thanks to all BIRD’s half marathon runners, either who ran in the race or ran an alternative route due to the current climate.

Fantastic effort from all, we very much appreciate your hard work and all of your sponsors generosity, thank you!

This photo taken at the furthest flung point of the race where we cheered them on!


14 March 2020

Due to the current nature of the news and the impact of the covid-19 virus, we have decided to cancel our events planned for March and April:

1. Myositis – 27th March 2020 – CANCELLED
2. Transition from Paediatric to Adult Rheumatology – 14th April – CANCELLED

We are looking at providing the information via online delivery, possibly a podcast or presentation online. We will obviously keep you informed of how these options progress. If you were attending either ...

Coronavirus: Notice for those attending our events

3 March 2020

Please find the following notice we have received from the Royal United Hospital staff regarding the coronavirus:

Despite press coverage, as yet there there have been no formal recommendations from Public Health England to curtail public freedom of movement. Participants do need to follow the latest Public Health guidance on their website, particularly if they develop symptoms or have traveled to affected areas listed. Usual good hygiene precautions apply regardless and the venue has good access to hand washing facilities. ...

Sharron Davies MBE, BIRDs Patron supports BIRDs Bath Half Runners

27 February 2020

Sharron Davies MBE, Patron of Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD), encourages BIRD Bath Half Marathon runners to train professionally, together with physio Vicky Baldy.   BIRD is raising funds for research into rheumatic diseases.  Sharron says:  “We need to look after our bones and joints, so following physio advice is an important part of avoiding injury and improving your speed.”  To sponsor a BIRD runner or donate please see our Virgin Money Giving page

Phase 2 Launch of the BIRD PPE Programme

19 February 2020

The next phase of the successful Patient & Public Engagement programme will launch in 2020.  Having built a strong network reach of over 14, 000 patients and deepened their knowledge of rheumatic disease and some of the research around it, BIRD is now focusing on getting more patient volunteers involved in research itself.

PPE programme director, Mel Brooke said: “BIRD is helping everyone to work together to improve research – patients, clinicians, researchers, the hospital and the university – and ...

Training begins for BIRD's Bath Half Runners!

23 January 2020

BIRD has 12 runners lined up for the Bath Half Marathon in March.   Each has pledged to raise at least £200 for research, using the Virgin Money Giving platform.  The ‘team’ met in January to be briefed by physio Vicky Baldy on top training tips, given encouragement by BIRD staff and to plot a photoshoot of their training.  More to come in February!

BIRD helps bring world-leading skin disorder experts to the city

12 December 2019

We were delighted to be involved in the second Skin@Bath Network Symposium, organised by the RUH, University of Bath and BIRD. 

Read all about it here


Scientists on the cutting edge of skin research gathered in Bath last week to discuss research breakthroughs on skin disorders ranging from eczema and fungal infections to skin ...

Merry Christmas for all at BIRD

16 December 2019

The BIRD office will be staffed intermittently between Friday 20th December 2019 to Monday 6th January 2020, however our email and answer machine will be checked daily throughout the festive period.

We would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year!

Thank you for your Waitrose tokens!

1 December 2019

Thank you so much for your green tokens donated to BIRD in this Novembers Waitrose Bath community matters scheme. We are delighted to have been raised £442.00 from the £1000.00 available! Thank you!

BIRD has now moved to the RUH

8 November 2019

Following the relocation of the RNHRD, BIRD has now moved to it’s new office at the RUH site.

Whilst this is a big change for all, we are excited about the opportunities the RUH can offer BIRD and we will continue to work closely with the RNHRD Staff to fulfill our research, education and engagement programmes.

Our telephone number and email addresses remain unchanged, but our new address is:

Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases
Department D1
Wolfson Building

Another successful Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Information Day!

19 September 2019

BIRDs recent information day for people with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) held at The Bath Royal Scientific and Literary Institute was again packed this year with in excess of 70 people.

Feedback included: ‘The morning talks [with] Dr Sengupta and Prof Marchesi were fantastic. Really Informative’

‘I enjoyed all of the day, it was interesting and informative’

The day was very well received by the attendees, with an outstanding 98% rating the day excellent or good overall!

Dr Raj Sengupta, a consultant at ...


Help support BIRD by making a contribution

Our work is built on the kind donations and bequests of previous generations. If you like what we do and would like to help, please consider giving us a donation, or a gift in memory of someone dear to you, inscribed on our benefactors’ board, or even a legacy. £100 covers our monthly IT costs. £500 sobers all the costs of a patient information event. £2000 would pay for a Summer Studentship for a scientific researcher. £10,000 would fund a small-scale pilot research project.