National clinical audit of rheumatoid and early infla... - NRAS


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National clinical audit of rheumatoid and early inflammatory arthritis


The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society supports the National clinical audit of rheumatoid and early inflammatory arthritis.

This is an important notice for anyone who is going through the process of being diagnosed with early inflammatory arthritis (undifferentiated at this stage) or suspected Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Maybe you have been referred by your GP to see a Consultant Rheumatologist and are waiting for your appointment, or you may just have been diagnosed within the last 2 or 3 weeks.

The British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) on behalf of the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership is carrying out a national comparative audit of the assessment, management and outcomes of adults presenting with rheumatoid and early inflammatory arthritis in all NHS secondary settings in England and Wales where the service is provided. The audit began in February 2014. (For more about HQIP, follow the link:

Purpose of the audit

The audit is taking place to measure what happens to patients who are referred to rheumatology (over a 3 month timeframe), who are suspected of having Rheumatoid Arthritis or another type of early inflammatory arthritis. This is being done so that the results can help clinicians continue to improve the quality of care for patients and also improve their long term outcomes. Patients who take part in the audit will be asked to fill in questionnaires about their experience of the rheumatology service and outcomes of treatment in terms of impact on quality of life. This is likely to make patients more aware of the care they are receiving and more able to take control of their personal health. The audit will be carried out on all newly referred patients with early IA or suspected RA over a three month window for a minimum of 3 years.

For more information about the audit, please go to the following link on the BSR website:

NRAS is working closely with the BSR on this audit and has contributed to the design and development of some of the patient questionnaires which are included within the audit. NRAS are very supportive of this audit because we are passionate about improving standards of care and believe that taking part will help to drive up standards as rheumatology units will be able to benchmark their performance against the national picture and against each other. Part of that process is understanding how patients are responding to treatment, from the patient’s own perspective, and finding out about your experience of receiving care and treatment from your rheumatology team. We would therefore like to encourage anyone who is invited to take part, to fill in the forms at the start and again after 3 months or so as fully as they can and return them to the unit in line with instructions given. If you are uncertain about anything, do ask your nurse specialist who will be able to help you.

Please note that this audit is only for newly referred patients.

Many thanks


3 Replies

Excellent. So glad this is being done and I hope that the results show what all of us on here have been through.

Almost makes me wish I was at the beginning again & could participate. The opportunity to improve can't be anything but good. Hope that doesn't sound damning but there is need for improvement from my perspective. It's my guess I'm not alone from some posts & could do worse than send a delegation to see how the publicly funded healthcare systems are run in some of our European neighbours. I may be being controversial but it has to be said, there are too many failings in some areas of the NHS.

Auditing this for newly referred patients is useless. They should be auditing the folk who remain undiagnosed or "undifferentiated" after either multiple referrals back to rheumatology or several years on the rheumatologist books, and especially the folk who still aren't getting good results from treatment several years after first seeing rheumatology.

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