News - Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases



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 ...

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 ...

We are part of the Waitose Community Matters scheme in November

16 October 2019

Look out for BIRD in the green token scheme in Waitrose Bath this November.
Known as their Community Matters scheme, each month every branch donates £1, 000 between local good causes.
The more tokens we get, the bigger the donation we receive for our rheumatology research projects!

BIRD seeks roadrunners to champion rheumatic research

23 September 2019

BIRD helps people with rheumatic diseases through research, education and information.  Rheumatology is the study and treatment of arthritis, including a number of autoimmune diseases, pain disorders affecting bones, joints, soft tissue and tendons.  In the long term, our work helps almost everyone because only one person in fifty will escape some form of rheumatic complaint in their lives.

So, while you’re fit and healthy enough to enjoy running long distance, we are asking you to consider helping us.  BIRD has secured special charity entries to the Bath ...

New Patrons for BIRD

13 September 2019

BIRD is delighted to announce two new Patrons:  Professor Bernie Morley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the University of Bath.  His current role is strategic, however his previous research was focussed on the genetics of autoimmune diseases, specifically Systematic Lupus Erythematosus.

Sharron Davies, MBE, former British champion Olympic swimmer and television presenter. Her experience of peak fitness, and indeed the injury that goes with athleticism, gives her insight and sympathy for those with musculo-skeletal bone and joint conditions.

The Right ...

Showcase event

13 September 2019

BIRD said farewell to being located at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases with a showcase event.  A toast was raised to the famous Mineral Hospital, one of the first national hospitals in the country. Researchers funded by BIRD explained their work to donors, volunteers and staff by presenting scientific posters. Two new patrons of BIRD were announced. A video of the sponsored skydive by BIRD trustee Stephanie Lear was shown. And BIRD’s participation in the next Bath Half ...

National Lottery awards £9,000 for Patient Engagement in Bath

11 June 2019

The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded BIRD £9, 000 for its Patient and Public Engagement (PPE) programme.

The funding will be used by the Programme Director, Mel Brooke, in running patient research activities as well as a series of free information days, patient support hubs and newsletters.

Mel said: “People can feel very anxious or isolated when they are diagnosed.  Finding other people to talk to, and share experiences with, is an important ...

Rheumatoid Arthritis Focus Group

29 June 2019

Volunteer patient participants and researchers took part in a research Focus Group hosted by BIRD to discuss plans for a new smartphone app to monitor rheumatoid arthritis disease activity between appointments.

Leading the group discussion was Dr Bashaar Boyce, Rheumatology Consultant RNHRD and Dr Phil Hamann, Clinical Lecturer, University of Bristol who explained why it would be so useful for both clinicians and patients.

There was plenty of discussion throughout the session and, after ...

Funding for research into epidemiology of Psoriatic arthritis

22 June 2019

BIRD has agreed to fund 9 months’ salary costs for University researcher Ms Amelia Green’s time to complete work looking at factors that may predict the onset of psoriatic arthritis in people with psoriasis, as part of a broader study.  This will allow the research team to take maximum advantage of the rich dataset on file (over 100, 000 patients).

In particular, she will investigate the prevalence, incidence and evolution of musculoskeletal symptoms reported to ...

New wearable technology for Ankylosing Spondylitis patients

2 June 2019

BIRD are proud to have helped Dr Raj Sengupta produce this video explaining and encouraging Ankylosing Spondylitis patients to use a new app to help better understand and treat their condition.


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 would provide refreshments all year for a monthly patient support group meeting. £1000 would cover the print and postage costs for a patient information day and newsletter. £2000 would pay for a Summer Studentship for a scientific researcher. £10,000 would fund a small-scale pilot research project.