Connect Health is the perfect place for someone from abroad used to working in other healthcare systems. There are very supportive, friendly colleagues

Dr Krisztina Szabo-Kocsis, Consultant Rheumatologist, South West Essex Community Rheumatology Service, Connect Health, tells us how, having worked in her native Hungary, she is now thriving on the challenge
of developing the service.

People Stories

Tags: |

I liked the idea of being a doctor from a young age

When I was around four years old, I was in the hospital waiting for an appointment with my mother. All the children were running around being noisy and naughty but when the doctor entered the room, they all sat down and immediately there was silence. This left a strong impression on me; from that moment I decided I wanted to be a doctor.


I went to university to study general medicine but changed to rheumatology due to the personal approach

After a couple of years, I realised I was drawn to rheumatology as it’s more personalised. Because they have a chronic disease, you support your patients over the long term which builds trust and a connection.


I became a Consultant in 2008

I worked in Hungary in secondary care outpatient clinics until moving to the UK in 2015, where I worked in the wards and outpatients for the NHS in Stoke-on-Trent and the Isle of Wight.


The development opportunities prompted a move to Connect Health

When I looked into the vacancy at Connect Health, I was attracted by the opportunity to develop the Community Rheumatology Service across the organisation, and also to the open management style. I was successful, starting the role in November 2018.


Connect Health gives me the flexibility I want in my career


To be a good Rheumatologist I need to be involved in secondary care services. The plan is to go back to working in the NHS two days a week, and Connect Health gives me the freedom to achieve this balance.


My colleagues are very respectful and easy to connect with

There’s a great atmosphere and a teamwork culture. The clinicians are very friendly, and I see a lot of very bright, clever, young people who are motivated and open to change.


Whilst Connect Health was traditionally an MSK-based organisation, the multi-disciplinary team is increasing

Medical specialities are still becoming embedded in the structure and the systems. Very rarely, the Rheumatology service isn’t fully included in communications, but this is recognised and being addressed.


I feel like my experience in Rheumatology is respected

The management team are open to listening to you, which enables me to make changes. We want to change how Rheumatology works in this country, not only via clinical leaders but through the friendly and supportive working environment. I’m part of the Special Interest Group (SIG) in rheumatology, and it’s really interesting for me to have a say in the development and shaping of the service.


As an independent company, we are much faster in responding to challenges

Connect Health is much more responsive than the NHS and is very dynamic. There aren’t as many unnecessary managerial meetings which makes it an easier place to work. It’s much more flexible, effective and responsive.


Working at Connect Health has given me a chance to make an impact and create something new.

If someone is looking for that it’s a perfect place for them.



If you’d like to find out more about working at Connect Health, contact

Click here to download Krisztina Szabo-Kocsis’ Story




The importance of the Rheumatology service in Connect Health

Connect Health offers pioneering community rheumatology care across four of its NHS Services: East Kent, South West Essex (SWEx), Herts Valleys and Wolverhampton.

These services offer benefits for all parties. For patients, they have easily accessible locations and shorter waiting times. Our colleagues, meanwhile, get career development opportunities in a specialist area of MSK care. And it comes with benefits for commissioners too, as it can lessen the load on secondary care services.

Each of our rheumatology care areas operate in different ways, with East Kent offering specialist nurse clinics whilst in Wolverhampton, SWEx and Herts Valleys there are multi-disciplinary teams with Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioners (APP), nurses, GPs and consultants on hand.

We care for two sets of rheumatology patients. Firstly, there are stable review patients, who generally have inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. These patients are referred to our services for review after diagnosis and treatment by a secondary care rheumatologist and their condition has stabilised following medication. And secondly, patients with non-inflammatory conditions, for example joint hypermobility, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, are also referred to our services following consultation from their GP.

As well as being pioneering in offering community rheumatology care, we are also innovative in the training that we offer to our colleagues. Just this year, three brand new specialist nurses started work at our East Kent service, all trained internally at Connect Health. This training opportunity is offered to selected colleagues to improve their knowledge and skills in rheumatology and is a fantastic opportunity for these colleagues to develop their career.