Dr Claire Charlesworth

Dr Claire Charlesworth


Introduction to Claire:

I started my career as an Osteopath. After completing a four year BSc (Hons) degree at the British school of Osteopathy in London, I worked for several years in central London before moving to Edinburgh to set up my own private practice.

In 2003, I decided to have a career change & retrained as a doctor graduating from Peninsula Medical school in 2008. I remained in Cornwall for my foundation training before moving to Cambridge & started my GP training in 2012. I still live and work in Cambridge and I’m privileged to work as a salaried GP at Nuffield Road Medical Centre.

My interests are womens’ health, dermatology and rheumatology.

I am a proud mum to two daughters and in my spare time I enjoy cooking, wild swimming, travelling & vintage fashion.

Why Claire wants to be a NASS champion:

In 2019 I was diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis (or axial SpA / AS) during an Acute flare that left me bed bound. The rheumatologist I saw reviewed an old MRI scan from 2 years previously, which revealed grade 3 sacroiliitis that wasn’t acted upon.

At that point I had experienced over 20 years of multiple joint pains and recurrent enthesitis, that as an athlete was often attributed to sporting injuries. The three GP’s I saw over the years reassured me my symptoms didn’t warrant referral, as my blood tests were ‘normal’.

Looking back, I can’t believe I missed the diagnosis in myself! I did have some knowledge of AxSpa but I was shocked at my own misunderstanding of several aspects of the condition & complete lack of awareness of others. On discussing my diagnosis with colleagues, I found I was most definitely not alone in this.

GP education in this area is relatively poor, unless a doctor has been lucky enough to do a rheumatology rotation earlier in their career, but this isn’t very common.

Being a GP with AxSpa gives me a very unique perspective for this programme and puts me in an excellent position to be a catalyst for at least some of the change that is so desperately needed to improve the lives of so many affected with and by AxSPa.


What Claire hopes to achieve from the programme:

“By being a part of this programme my aim is to increase knowledge of AxSpa in both GP’s and in GP trainees. I’d like to debunk the myths often associated with AxSpa and support and facilitate recognition of symptom trends in individual patients by utilising IT software.

Ultimately, I hope to continue my learning journey and with the other members of the programme, hope we can work collectively to drive forward a positive change and make steps to reduce time to diagnosis for those living with AxSPa.”

Symptoms starting slowly

Pain in the lower back

Improves with movement

Night time waking

Early onset (under 40)