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Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) Clinic referrals

NHS website about NMO available at: Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) - NHS website

The Department of Clinical Neurology, Oxford University Hospitals, Oxford, jointly with The Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery NHS Trust, Liverpool, have been awarded National Specialist Services funding for a National Diagnostic and Advisory Service for Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO).

Both teams (Oxford and Liverpool) offer clinical services, and Oxford offers also the AQP4 antibody assay, which is now free of charge for all the NHS patients from England and Scotland.

The group, consisting of Professor Palace, Dr Leite and Dr Patrick Waters, has a longstanding expertise in antibody mediated diseases, and NMO has been identified as having an association with a newly discovered antibody, aquaporin 4, in about 70 percent of cases.

Dr Patrick Waters' NMO group has set up the UK AQP4 antibody assay in Oxford as part of their research into this condition.

A weekly clinic led by Professor Palace and Dr Leite for patients with probable/suspected NMO (and related conditions, such as transverse myelitis, recurrent optic neuritis, Devic's syndrome and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis) is now running.

Referrals can be made by GPs via eReferral, directly to Professor Palace, Dr Leite and hospital specialists.

Professor Jacqueline Palace (Consultant Neurologist)

Professor Maria Isabel Leite (Consultant Neurologist)

Department of Neurology, Level 3
West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital
Headley Way
Oxford OX3 9DU

Tel: 01865 231900

The team

Clinical evaluation

  • Professor Jacqueline Palace (Consultant Neurologist)
  • Professor Maria Isabel Leite (Consultant Neurologist, Clinical Postdoctoral Scientist)
  • Madalina Miron (NMO Specialist Nurse)
  • Yvonne Sharawakanda (NMO Specialist Nurse)
  • Dr Anna Francis (Clinical Fellow)


Dr Srilakshmi Sharma (Consultant Medical Ophthalmologist)


Dr Sithara Ramdas (Consultant Paediatrician)

Antibody tests

  • Dr Patrick Waters
  • Dr Mark Woodall

Diagnosis and management advice

These depend on a combined approach incorporating

  • clinical assessment
  • specialised imaging
  • analysis of serum antibodies (anti-aquaporin 4, AQP4)
  • outpatient or inpatient evaluation of immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory therapies
  • specialist therapy and nursing input
  • easy access to phone and email advice for patients in the south of England.

When referring please include detailed information on relapses and disability investigations (where already done) such as MRI and CSF and antibody results, and if not urgent we would prefer to review the imaging ahead.

Please forward all referrals to:

Sophie Smith
Service Coordinator
Neuroscience Offices, Level 3
West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital
Headley Way
Oxford OX3 9DU

Tel: 01865 231900


Serum samples for screening

Please use the request form below to send samples for testing.

Aquaporin-4 (NMO) antibody request form (Word, 156 KB)

Contact us

NMO Nurse Specialists: 01865 231905


External links

Last reviewed:19 December 2022