Results from the latest National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit reveal that Southport &
Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is the highest performing trust against the NICE standards of
care, with patients seeing specialists in record time.
The audit, conducted by the British Society for Rheumatology, is the largest and most
comprehensive study into the condition. It aims to improve patient care and treatment and
has collected data from over 13,500 patients, with 96% of trusts in England and Wales
Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions such as arthritis and back pain affected an estimated 18.8
million people across the UK in 2017, with around 45,000 people in Leicester city suffering
from back pain. Arthritis is the biggest cause of physical disability in the UK, affecting up to
10 million people.
In Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust 92% of people with suspected persistent
synovitis were assessed within 3 weeks of referral. This compares to the national average of
Data is measured against NICE’s quality standards which highlight key areas that will help
services improve, such as prompt referral from a GP, seeing a specialist within 3 weeks and
getting appropriate treatment quickly.
Ali Rivett, Chief Executive of the British Society for Rheumatology, said: “Across the UK,
there are many areas performing well despite the current strain on our NHS rheumatology
workforce. A prompt diagnosis of early inflammatory arthritis can make the difference
between developing life-long disabilities or going into remission.
“In a real-life setting, it’s worth noting the significant and progressive improvements over time
in all the patient-reported outcomes collected through the audit, including reduction in levels
of anxiety and depression, and in work impacts. Disease remission is achieved for 52% of
patients by 12 months.
“The audit is showing important and significant improvements in care quality and the positive
impact of rheumatology services on disease activity which are outcomes of importance to
Southport MP Damien Moore said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way rheumatic
conditions are treated and taught at the Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust with much
of the NHS workforce redeployed.
“The pandemic has been a challenge for our country and clinicians have been particularly affected.
“I am pleased that BSR’s NEIAA audit confirms that rheumatology teams across Southport have performed well in what have been unimaginable circumstances.
“I thank each and every key worker for their dedication to improving patient care.”