New smell disorders clinic launches in Gloucester

25 Oct 2022, 3:05 p.m.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is opening a new Smell Disorders and Allergy Clinic at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital next month (November). The consultant-led service will be the first time that patients can be seen at a dedicated, specialist smell clinic in the area.

It is estimated that up to 5% of the population have a smell disorder and there has been a huge increase in awareness due to the COVID pandemic. One of the symptoms of COVID is a loss of smell and taste, and while for the majority this usually returns once the virus has passed, for others it has more lasting effects.

The new service is being run in partnership with Fifth Sense, the charity for people affected by smell and taste disorders. The charity will work closely with the clinic to provide local support and information to patients, help signpost people to the new service and work with hospital staff to contribute to the latest cutting-edge research in this specialist area.

Mr Okechukwu Okonkwo, Ear Nose and Throat Consultant at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital said, “We are delighted to be able to offer this service to the people of Gloucestershire. There are lots of different causes of smell impairment and by having this new clinic and working with Fifth Sense, we hope to improve the lives of people with this condition. We are already seeing lots of demand and have started to accept referrals through GPs.”

Duncan Boak, Chief Executive and founder of Fifth Sense said, “There has been a real need for a specialist smell clinic in this part of England, so I’m delighted that Mr Okonkwo and his team have established this important new service. I am really looking forward to working together with them and the wider Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to deliver support, education and research that makes a difference to people with smell and taste disorders.”

The Clinic and Fifth Sense will be co-hosting a Smell and Taste Information Session on Saturday 12 November at the Sandford Education Centre at Cheltenham Hospital. The day will be an opportunity for patients and their families to share experiences and learn more about smell and taste disorders, the new clinic and the services provided by Fifth Sense. Healthcare professionals from the local area are also very welcome to attend and learn more about the impact of smell and taste disturbances and what can be done to help. The event will be free to attend, supported by Fifth Sense’s funding from the National Lottery Community Fund. Anyone interested in attending can contact the Fifth Sense team at info@fifthsense.org.uk.

Patients who would like to be seen by the Smell Disorder and Allergy Clinic should get a referral through their GP.