Professor Bhaskar Dasgupta brings over 40 years of clinical and academic experience to Lead Consultant role

Rheumatology expert Professor Bhaskar Dasgupta believes there is an urgent need to develop community care capabilities to support rheumatology patients in the UK – and cites the issue as one of his main motivations for taking on the role of Lead Consultant at Connect Health.

With an impressive track record spanning more than four decades, including within senior roles at Southend University Hospital and the North Thames Clinical Network, Professor Dasgupta has been appointed to the pivotal role at the community healthcare service provider, headquartered in the North East of England.

He explains: “This is a challenging time for rheumatology, current services are struggling to cope and there is a shortage of rheumatologists. The big problem is the gap between demand and supply. The default option for patients needing support is their GP, but even the best GP does not have the specialist skills for coping with these conditions. So, you need additional services that can fill the void.

“Thanks to its proficient and advanced physiotherapists who have undergone rheumatology training, have an ethos for asking for advice in multi-disciplinary teams and have expertise in MSK examination, Connect Health is ideally suited to deal with the many conditions that primary care services currently cannot.”

Considered one of the world leaders in the area of ultrasound, Professor Dasgupta has published over 350 original articles relating to Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) and Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA). This year he is running the ninth International Ultrasound Workshop and Symposium in GCA, PMR and LVV (large-vessel vasculitis), focusing on ultrasound diagnosis and monitoring of cranial and extracranial large-vessel giant cell arteritis.

Holding Honorary Professorships at Essex University and Queen Mary’s University London, and a Visiting Professorship at Anglia Ruskin University, Professor Dasgupta continues: “The nurses and multi-disciplinary teams at Connect Health are all excellent and since recently joining the organisation I’ve found I enjoy teaching them. They work hand in hand with the hospital rheumatology departments to develop a much-needed bridge between primary and secondary care and they do so in a sensitive, collaborative and allegiant manner.”

Graeme Wilkes, CMO Connect Health, said: “It is a real honour to appoint someone of Professor Dasgupta’s calibre. His appointment to our burgeoning rheumatology group will help shape our growing service offering, all while bringing unrivalled passion and expertise to our team.”

As one of his first national engagements in his new role, Professor Dasgupta will join the Connect Change webinar, ‘Community rheumatology services – now essential for 2022/23’, on 20th July. As a panel member, he will support Connect Health’s recently appointed Head of Rheumatology Michael Dare, and explore the current problems surrounding PMR within primary care services and how community care providers can ‘get it right’.

Originally from Jamshedpur in India, Professor Dasgupta attended two of the country’s finest medical schools before moving to the UK in 1983. He currently resides in Essex and is married with two children.