Birmingham centre raises awareness of condition on Rare Disease Day

27th Feb 2013

As the world unites to celebrate Rare Disease Day (28 February), patients across the Midlands and beyond are being reminded that treatment for a rare condition is now available in Birmingham.

The Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, on the City Hospital site of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, is one of only three places nationwide to host a Behçet’s Syndrome Centre of Excellence.

Behçet’s syndrome is a rare disease that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. Symptoms affect various parts of the body and can include mouth ulcers, genital ulcers, eye inflammation and skin and joint problems.

With the opening of the centre, people with Behçet’s syndrome can now be seen by consultants from different specialties on the same day, instead of having to attend different appointments. Consultants from the Eye Centre and the Rheumatology department at City Hospital staff the centre, as well as oral medicine doctors from Birmingham Dental Hospital. Clinics are held most weeks on a Friday from 8.45am to 1pm, though as the service develops there are plans to extend this.

Professor Phil Murray, Consultant Ophthalmologist, explained: “In Western Europe, Behçet’s syndrome is very rare, with only an estimated 500 people in the UK having a diagnosis. It is this sort of condition that the sixth international Rare Disease Day is aiming to raise awareness of.

“Behçet’s syndrome is currently incurable, but that doesn’t mean it is untreatable. However, due to the range of symptoms, a number of different specialists, and therefore appointments, are usually required. Our patients are very grateful that they can now make just one visit to the Birmingham Behçet’s Syndrome Centre of Excellence and see consultants from different specialties, all on the same day.”

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