The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases

Research is a very important part of our service and we undertake a wide range of projects to give us a better understanding of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Complex Cancer Late Effects.   Our specialist areas of interest are the mechanisms behind CRPS,  patient experience of living with the conditions and new treatment interventions.  Patients need to have completed and signed a research consent form following one of our assessment clinics, or the inpatient programme, to be considered for one of our studies. 

We also sometimes recruit patients via the CRPS UK Registry, which is a national database of people with CRPS who have consented to be part of this long-term research study – we are one of 10 recruiting centres around the UK who contribute data to this valuable information resource.  The Registry is run by the CRPS UK Clinical & Research Network, and is sponsored by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Current research studies include:

Core Outcome Measures for complex regional PAin Clinical sTudies (COMPACT), sponsored by the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust. Currently it is difficult to bring research findings from many different studies together.  This is because researchers may not always use the same questionnaires to measure change during a clinical study.  The aim of this study is to agree on a minimum core set of outcome measures which will be recommended for use in all CRPS clinical studies.  The development of a core measurement set would make it easier to compare data to answer specific research questions agreed as internationally important and relevant for the advance of the treatment of CRPS.

Treating chronic pain by using visual illusions to modulate body perception disturbance, sponsored by the University of the West of England.  Research previously carried out by a member of the team explored a drug-free approach for the relief of persistent pain, by using visual manipulation techniques.  However, the brain processes responsible for this pain reduction during the illusion are currently unknown.  The aim of this new project is to better understand brain processes involved in pain and altered body perception, as well as how this impacts on the lives of people with CRPS and hand osteoarthritis.

Development of an Electrical Sensory Discrimination Therapies device to aid reduction of neuropathic pain

Comparing the experiences of cancer survivors after recent and historical radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer

Physical, occupational performance and emotional impacts of living with CRPS or Complex Cancer Late Effects


The NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) has published information for patients relating to health and care research.  This can be accessed from their website via the following link –

In addition to research, we ask patients to complete a number of questionnaires before they attend their first appointment and at various points throughout the pathway.  This is an important aspect of our programme for our patients and NHS commissioners.

We are actively involved with several research organisations on a local, national and international level:


CRPS UK Clinical and Research Network      Twitter:

Research collaboration between a number of UK NHS Trusts and academic institutions with an interest in CRPS.  


Integrated Pain Management Health Integration Team (IPM HIT) –

A partnership of clinicians, researchers, commissioners and patients working across Bath and Bristol to provide an integrated clinical service for chronic pain.  


PROactive  or follow us on Twitter

A collaboration of academics and clinicians at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and the University of West of England in Bristol, with a focus on chronic pain.  We have created a video-scribe that explains the work of PROactive, which can be accessed below:



International Association for the Study of Pain Specialist Interest Group on CRPS (IASP SIG) – 

Brings a focus to new developments in the field of basic and clinical research.  


International Research Consortium for CRPS (IRC)

Promoting research directed at relieving the pain, disability and prevention of CRPS.  

Upcoming Conferences – where is our research being showcased?

Many of our team members attend academic conferences throughout the UK and overseas, either as invited speakers or to present poster information about their research.


Professional/ Study Visits 

** Please note that due to the re-location of all services at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, we are currently unable to accommodate professional visitors to the CRPS or CCLERS team or in-patient programme.  Limited opportunities to visit may be considered after Spring 2020 **

Visitor opportunities are dependent upon our levels of activity throughout the year.  Visits don’t usually offer any form of hands-on patient contact, but they may include an opportunity to observe clinical work (subject to patient consent).

Please note that that some pre-employment checks, including DBS and occupational health, will need to be undertaken ahead of your visit to us.  There is no charge for professional or study visits, but you will be expected to cover your own travel and accommodation costs.

If you are interested in visiting the service, please download and complete the application form below and return it to us along with a copy of your current CV/biography.


We would be grateful if you could provide a few date options for your availability where possible, so that we can ensure the visit is arranged at a time that will be most beneficial to you.  If you have a specific interest in a particular area of our work, then please also include any relevant details in your application.

All visitor enquiries and completed application forms should be directed in the first instance to

Upon receipt of your application, a member of our team will get in touch to further discuss your requirements.

Education and Study Days

Education and training for healthcare professionals forms an integral part of our work, so that we can increase understanding of the conditions we treat and share best practice.  We hold specialist study days and conferences for healthcare professionals from time to time.

** Please note that due to the re-location of all services at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, there are no planned study days at this time.  We currently do not have any scheduled events for 2020, but please email if you wish to be added to our education and training mailing list**

The database of people who have consented to be contacted about future events is not held as part of this website.  Limited contact information is kept separately and securely within our team and will not be passed on to any third parties.