Bath Institute For Rheumatic Diseases

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Charity details

Registered address
Second Floor, RNHRD,Upper Borough Walls

01225 336363

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About us

BIRD is a local charity working to improve treatment for patients with rheumatic diseases. We raise funds to support research and to provide free educational courses for health professionals, patients, their families and carers.

Established in 1975 by the Min (RNHRD) and the University of Bath, BIRD became an independent charity in 1981. We are committed to promoting an independent research and education centre for bone and joint diseases in Bath.

Bone and joint diseases affect all ages, including children, with only one person in fifty escaping some form of rheumatic complaint. Their impact is increasing with the number of older people in the population. These diseases are a cause of great pain and suffering and one of the main causes of disability in Britain. This has an emotional and financial impact on the individuals and their families, with wide ranging repercussions for society and the economy.

Our vision

BIRD’s vision to promote and support Bath as a centre of excellence in arthritis research and patient support.


Our mission

Our mission is to:

-        improve outcomes and treatments for patients through promoting collaboration between clinicians and research scientists;

-        support research and educational activities in bone and joint diseases with a focus on Bath; and,

-        relieve sickness and to promote and advance medical knowledge with particular reference to rheumatic diseases and to undertake research in relation thereto.   

Our values

We are:

-        committed to working with others in support of achieving its charitable objectives, with patient and public involvement and engagement embedded in the charitable activities; 

-        ambitious for the future of arthritis research and education in Bath;

-        duty bound to act with integrity, be well governed and responsibly run; and,

-        accountable to its beneficiaries and other stakeholders for its actions.

What makes BIRD different?

BIRD is the local charity in Bath working, with patients, to fund arthritis research and education.

BIRD’s strengths are:

-        it is an established charity with a track record of over 30 years support for high quality arthritis research built on a strong scientific base;

-        it has strong links with local clinicians, researchers and scientists, primarily but not exclusively through the RNHRD, the University of Bath and increasingly through the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust;

-        through the above it has some established links with patients;

-        connections with the local GP educational trust(s);

-        existing contacts with a range of potential sponsors in the pharmaceutical industry;

-        the commitment of the people that support the charity;

-        an excellent reputation;

-        sound financial and governance foundations on which to build; and,

-        the potential to grow and build on existing capacity

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With a primary focus on Bath, BIRD’s aims are to:

-        ensure its work and activities are informed by active patient, family and carer engagement;

-        be the driving force behind high quality arthritis research by awarding pump-prime funding to build research activity;

-        be the deliverer of choice of high quality continuing education and public information events relating to arthritis;

-        be the local charity raising awareness of the impact of arthritis; and,

-        to support the continuing provision and development of high quality rheumatology services based on research and education.

Research & Education

BIRD continues to fund research and support the next generation of researchers into bone and joint diseases.

Our achievements have included training more than 25 PhD students, 20 clinical research fellows and 10 post-doctoral research assistants.

We had significant involvement in developing anti-TNF therapy, one of the treatments for patients with severe arthritic diseases who have failed to improve with standard medicines, and BIRD funded staff are internationally recognised for identifying and characterising novel components of the immune system (autoantibodies) that are found in patients with connective tissue diseases, and which may be directly involved in causing damage to joints and other tissues.

A key part of BIRD’s objectives is promoting recognition of the impact of bone and joint diseases through educational courses for health professionals, patients and the general public. We are committed to encouraging the wider public’s awareness of rheumatic diseases and to helping patients, their family and friends better understand their condition.

As such, BIRD has set up a number of public lectures and information days, as well as distributing newsletters and leaflets. As a result of one of our information days, and with BIRD’s help and support, a group of psoriatic arthritis patients formed PsAZZ, a local support group, in 2011 and the group continues to grow.

BIRD also organises a growing and wide ranging educational programme for the continued education and training of healthcare professionals. In doing this we work closely with a range of health and education providers, including Bath hospitals, the Royal United and the RNHRD, the University of Bath and the Bath GP Education & Research Trust.

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