Assist RA meeting
30 September 2022


As part of the Assist RA programme, key rheumatology experts Julie Begum, Alan Davidson, Alison Kent, Dr Muhammad Nisar and Ruth Slack came together to offer their expert insights and advice on caring for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Through case-based and best practice discussions, they explored how to overcome the challenges faced in daily clinical practice and how to offer optimal support to individuals living with the daily struggles of this debilitating disease.

Meeting Outputs

What’s in the envelope? Managing comorbidities and other complications of RA

In this practical workshop session, our experts explore how comorbidities and complications can affect patients with RA, the importance of managing these alongside RA and how to offer support to such patients.

See below for a summary of the key discussion points for each patient case.

Topic: RA and CVD
Presenter: Dr Muhammad Nisar, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Topic: RA and infections (case 1)
Presenter: Alan Davidson, Modality LLP – Community Rheumatology Services, Birmingham

Topic: RA and infections (case 2)
Presenter: Alan Davidson, Modality LLP – Community Rheumatology Services, Birmingham

Topic: RA and mental health
Presenter: Alison Kent, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

Topic: RA and pain
Presenter: Julie Begum, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


Hear what our attendees thought of the meeting by clicking on the videos below…

Barbara Douglas, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust

Queilidenia Silva Araujo, Florence Nightingale Community Hospital, Derby


Julie Begum (Chair)
Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Julie began her rheumatology career in 2008 as a clinical nurse specialist and became the lead nurse for the Luton and Dunstable Hospital in 2017. She is an independent non medical prescriber and in 2022 she gained her MSc in advanced clinical practice. Her additional professional posts include being the past chair of the RCN rheumatology forum. She is currently the BSR MDT council representative for the East of England (Nursing) and an expert nurse advisor to NRAS. She is passionate about rheumatology nurse education and health promotion for patients. Her clinical specialist interest is psoriatic arthritis.

Alan Davidson 
Modality LLP – Community Rheumatology Service, Birmingham

As a registered nurse, Alan Davidson currently delivers rheumatology services to the community in Birmingham, UK, via Modality LLP, and has worked in various NHS secondary care settings. He is passionate about empowering patients through education and improving services through involvement of patients and the general public. Alan believes that the patient should be at the heart of decision-making in clinical practice.

Alison Kent     
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust    

As both an experienced nurse and patient, Alison is passionate about the use of communication, health coaching, shared decision-making and goal setting – all of which are core components of the Assist RA programme. 

Dr Muhammad Nisar
Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Dr Muhammad Nisar is Consultant Rheumatologist and Physician at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, having completed his dual speciality training in the East of England. He is also Director of Research and Development at the organisation. Nationally, he is an elected clinical entrepreneur and member of British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) Registers Committee.

He is the lead clinician for award-winning early arthritis services, metabolic bone health delivery, research on advanced therapies and inflammatory
arthritis-associated lung disease in multidisciplinary team services. Dr Nisar has been involved in over 60 clinical trials utilising advanced therapies for autoimmune and skeletal conditions. He has won several awards from prestigious bodies including the NHS, the Royal College of Physicians and the BSR. His other main interest is early inflammatory arthritis, including ultrasound use and crystal arthritides. He has authored over 100 abstracts, presented at international conferences and published more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals.  

Ruth Slack
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust 

Ruth has worked in rheumatology nursing for over 25 years. In 1990, she became one of the UK’s rheumatology nurse specialists. In her current role as Senior Rheumatology Nurse at West Suffolk Hospital, she leads the rheumatology nursing team, redesigns the nurse service and runs nurse-led clinics. She completed her independent prescribing course in 2006. Ruth has chaired several nurse educational meetings, has spoken at national and international rheumatology meetings, and is a past chair of the Royal College of Nursing Rheumatology Forum (2013–2015).

External Resources

You might also find it useful to refer to these external resources recommended by our expert faculty:


This content was organised by Galapagos Biotech Ltd in conjunction with the steering committee members, Julie Begum, Alan Davidson, Alison Kent, Dr Muhammad Nisar and Sandra Robinson, and was funded by Galapagos Biotech Ltd.

Speakers have received an honorarium from Galapagos. This content is meant only for healthcare professionals in the UK and ROI and may contain promotional content on a Galapagos product. Prescribing Information is available via the website header menu at the top of the page.

GB-RA-GLPG-202210-00001 | Date of preparation: May 2023.