The Rheumatology department provides patient-centred care looking after children and adolescents with a wide variety of conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system (muscles and joints) as well as conditions of non-infectious multi-system inflammation.
The Department of Rheumatology provides care for children and young people with a wide variety of inflammatory and non-inflammatory conditions of the musculoskeletal system (muscles and joints) as well as conditions of auto-immune multi-system inflammation.
Our expert multidisciplinary team also conduct assessments of musculoskeletal conditions that are NOT likely to require orthopaedic surgery.
Unit Head, Associate Professor Sue Piper leads an experienced team of paediatric rheumatologists, junior doctors training to be paediatricians, a paediatric rheumatology nurse educator specialist and specialised Allied Health practitioners including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and podiatry staff.
We treat children with problems that arise from before birth, children and young people up until the 19th birthday. Efficient and effective patient-centred care is our mandate. We aim to improve quality of life, pain management, disease management as well as patient and family knowledge about the disease, medication and treatment.
Conditions we treat
Our unit specialises in diagnosing and treating many conditions. These include but are not limited to:
Research is essential to enhance clinical practice and the Rheumatology Department is active in contributing to local, national and international research projects.
We are committed to enhancing the understanding of rheumatic diseases and conditions for Monash University medical students, junior doctors training to be paediatricians, as well as other hospital staff and GPs.
Rheumatology Specialist Consulting Services
Paediatric/Adolescent Rheumatology Clinic
A Paediatric/Adolescent Rheumatology Clinic, staffed by three Paediatric Rheumatologists, the Paediatric Rheumatology Nurse Educator, physiotherapist and Junior Medical Staff, operates every Monday between 8am and 11am in the Outpatients area of Monash Children’s Hospital.
Paediatric and adolescent patients (new patients up to 18 and still at school) with juvenile arthritis, autoimmune connective tissue diseases, back pain, hypermobility, pain syndromes and other problems with bone, joint or muscle pain will be assessed and offered ongoing management where appropriate.
All clinics are held at Monash Children’s Hospital and there are no out of pocket expenses.
General Paediatric Rheumatology Clinic
A Paediatric Rheumatology Clinic is also held on alternative Friday afternoons, from 11am-2pm, in the Specialist Consulting Clinics at Monash Children’s Hospital. There are no out of pocket expenses.
Patients will generally be allocated to continue care in one clinic but may transfer if needed.
A Vasculitis/Autoimmune Connective Tissue Diseases Clinic
A Vasculitis/Autoimmune Connective Tissue Diseases Clinic operates on alternate Fridays from 1.30-2.30pm. The clinic runs jointly with the consultant Nephrologist (kidney specialist) There are no out of pocket expenses for this clinic.
Joint Injection Session
On alternate Friday mornings, patients who require intra-articular steroid injections are admitted to the Same Day Unit for this procedure. Some younger patients may require a general anaesthetic for this procedure and other paediatric patients use a combination of local anaesthetic and nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Our specialist physiotherapists and occupational therapists are also available for consultation and advice as required.
Those patients requiring regular drug infusions will be admitted to the Same Day Unit.
Patients are transitioned to care with an adult rheumatologist when they are ready. For most, this will be after completion of year 12 but some may be earlier, such as those starting an apprenticeship, or later for those with intellectual impairments. Since this is a time of many changes for most young people, we can be flexible with timing to ensure optimal outcomes.
Patients are offered several options but transfer to the Rheumatology Service at Monash Medical Centre results in the smoothest path with ready cooperation between treating teams.
Please address referrals to Head of Unit, Associate Professor Sue Piper, Paediatric Rheumatology and send via:
Fax: (03) 9594 6136 (direct to paediatric rheumatology offices)
Referrals will be triaged and booked according to priority.
Please note: GPs are requested to refer onto this service using the Victorian Statewide Referral Form housed in most clinical software. For more information on VSRF see www.gpv.org.au then click on Resources or contact your local Divisions of General Practice.
Please make all telephone inquiries to 03 9594 4640 (paediatric rheumatology offices – please leave a message and you will be contacted by the end of the next business day).
For URGENT matters the Paediatric (Renal) Rheumatology Advanced Training Registrar or Resident can be paged by calling the Monash Health Switchboard on (03) 9594 6666 and asking for pager 4287 (Registrar) or 242 (Resident).
If a doctor wishes to contact the team please advise the Monash Health switchboard that you are a doctor and you will be connected through. Consultant staff are available on call.
Less than 18 years of age and still at school
GP Investigations to be performed
As indicated by presentation.
Nil to clients eligible for Medicare.
Note: Patients ineligible for Medicare will be charged a fee for all services provided
Specialist Consulting Clinics
Monash Children’s Hospital, Clayton
Combined clinic with Nephrology – alternate Fridays, 1.30–2.30pm
External referral process
Please address referrals to Head of Unit – A/Professor Sue Piper, Paediatric Rheumatology and fax to:
Fax: (03) 9594 6136 (direct to Paediatric Rheumatology offices)
Please note: GPs are requested to refer onto this service using the Victorian Statewide Referral Form housed in most clinical software. More information on VSRF – www.gpv.org.au then click on Resources or contact your local Divisions of General Practice.
Please make all telephone enquiries to :
Phone: (03) 9594 4640 (direct to Paediatric Rheumatology offices – please leave a message)/
Internal referral process
Phone: (03) 9594 4640
Fax: (03) 9594 6136
Referrals will be received from