BIRD Celebrates over 10,000 listens to our podcast library for patients - Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases

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 rheumatic diseases such as Lupus, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoporosis as well as podcasts on Self-Management and wellbeing.  The podcasts received over 11,000 listens by 1st October and each one, features experts in the field of rheumatology from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD). The aim of the podcasts is to provide patients with a better understanding of their condition, the medications or treatments available and to improve patient knowledge and confidence. Speakers range from Consultants, Specialist Nurses and Physiotherapists to patients sharing their own experiences.

The Patient Information Podcast Library was started in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic caused BIRD’s live patient information events to be cancelled.  In a recent patient survey 74% of respondents said their knowledge of their condition had improved after listening to the podcasts, 75% said that hearing the voices of their clinicians and healthcare professionals was reassuring, almost 60% said that listening had made them feel less isolated and part of a community.

Future podcasts are planned on Fibromyalgia and Sjogren’s and a further podcast for the Psoriatic Arthritis series will be announced online at as they are released.

In the photo is our BIRD celebration with a group of the wonderful RNHRD podcast speakers (not all) and BIRD podcast interviewer Mel Brooke, PPE Programme Director with Cara Charles-Barks, Chief Executive at the RUH Bath and Celia Mead, BIRD Director.

Cara Charles-Barks, Chief Executive at Royal United Hospitals, Bath said: “It is a fantastic achievement that BIRD has reached over 10,000 listens to its rheumatology podcasts since 2020. This valuable online resource is empowering patients across Bath and the UK with the latest advice and treatments for their specific condition. In only two years, a remarkable library has evolved with over thirty specialist podcasts. Our thanks to the RNHRD’s Consultants, Specialist Nurses and Therapies team for volunteering their time as podcast speakers and supporting BIRD’s Patient Engagement Programme. Good luck with the next 10,000 listens.”

Mel Brooke, Patient and Public Engagement programme director for BIRD said: “We are thrilled that our Podcasts are so popular with patients. It is wonderful to be able to share this expert resource on rheumatic diseases with a far wider audience through the use of online channels.  The team at BIRD work closely with patients to deepen their understanding of their rheumatic disease by sharing the latest research and treatments available to help them.”

Jackie Head, who is a patient at the RNHRD, Bath commented: “’When you have a chronic illness it is easy to feel like an interesting curiosity for a medical team rather than just a normal person trying to make their way through extraordinary circumstances. I am pleased to say I have always felt that the RNHRD is a place where my whole self is acknowledged and attended to and the BIRD podcasts feel like an extension of the care the centre provides. The podcasts show the staff sharing their considerable knowledge in straight forward ways without being patronising. They have been particularly useful to share with family and friends in relation to my diagnosis.”

Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD) aims to support arthritis research, education and patient engagement. The charity puts patients at the centre of their work, recognising and encouraging the importance of patient voices in research and the development of treatment and other therapy options available to patients.  BIRD encourages and funds research projects between the University of Bath and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), Bath and educates healthcare professionals in aspects of rheumatic disease and engages with patients to deepen their understanding and encourage them to get involved in research.

BIRD would like to thank everyone involved and look forward to producing more podcasts that benefit and improve patients knowledge of their condition.