Working as a nurse in dentistry with inflammatory Arthritis


Hi I have had rheumatoid/inflammatory arthritis for 3 years and work full time in Dentistry as a nurse. Wondered what the guidance was nationally re whether I should be working face to face with patients or not.

I have had a risk assessment at work that says I am high risk Environment and Moderate Risk disease. I have just had my methotrexate raised back up to 25mg from 15mg, after it was lowered in January 2020 after having break through pain.

Could anyone advise or have you had similar queries?


  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 968

    Hi @Blizard1 ,

    Welcome to the online community!

    Working face to face with patients while taking methotrexate is an issue that needs to be considered carefully ,and the Government information about it does change pretty regularly.

    The Versus Arthritis gives up to date information about RA and Covid 19 - you might find it useful to check it out:

    There's a section on employment advice and assessing your risk which might be helpful. There may well be other members of the forum who will also be able to share their own experiences.

    Best wishes, do let us know how you're getting on.


    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Gemthom85
    Gemthom85 Member Posts: 26
    Hi blizard

    I am in a similar position. I have rhumatioid arthritis and i am on 25mg methotrexate. Soon to be moving onto biologics in addition. I am a police officer so i have had to work through the pandemic. I have been told i am high risk. That is from occupation health an rheumatology but im not clinically high ie shielding.
    Luckily I am office based and no contact with the public however i have had to fight for the ability for social distancing from colleagues. After being instructed to follow strict social distancing. It has took then till now for them to facilitate that....🙄.just to be told this week shielding is over so their guidance is they do not have to provide 2m distancing for me anymore. Who knows?!
    Iv had no guidance from rheumatology so i have no idea if that is correct and there seems to be so much info online for shielding category but nothing for those that are high risk but not clinically high. I feel we have just been forgotten about. Im now getting pressured by management to return operational duties where i could potentially be coming into contact with people who are both symtomatic or asymptomatic. Even covid related deaths. Its a complete nightmare.
  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    Hello, hello, hello! (Sorry couldn't resist) Seriously though I have a tremendous respect for you are your colleagues, I tried to join the Police when I left the armed forces but my eyesight was not up to the minimum required standard. Anyway, I too am supposedly high risk as I receive the annual flu vaccine but I am not clinically high risk as I do not have any of the listed conditions and am not taking any of the listed meds as I have OA. Luckily I am too far gone to work so am able to shield as best I can. Can you get any help or support from the Police Federation?

  • Gemthom85
    Gemthom85 Member Posts: 26
    Hi mike1
    It all down to public health guidance. The police however are exempt from following the distancing guidance due to their job being 'necessary' so im stuck between a rock an a hard place. 💁‍♀️
    I am in Scotland. im not familiar with the rules everywhere but there is chat of reducing distancing to 1m?. I cant find where this has come from, im completely lost to be honest. Its just all went abit mad. Can do something in England, not in wales or kinda in Scotland. How does anyone have s staycation an be able to keep track of what we are allowed to do, honestly?!
  • MoWW
    MoWW Member Posts: 74

    Hi, @Blizard1 and @Gemthom85 thank you for your posts, I have checked out a few links about shielding and work related rights, that may be of help.

    British Society for Rheumatology Covid-19, this also includes specific information for healthcare workers.

    in early July 2020 there was communication from Scottish Government on shielding,

    ACAS gives guidance to employers on supporting staff returning to work,

    For individuals of working age within Scotland, Versus Arthritis have a Working Well service which I manage, offering information and guidance on work related issues. Contact if you wish to get in touch.

    Hope this helps,