Southport Hospital

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.”

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