Second Annual Report - National Clinical Audit for Rheumatoid and Early Inflammatory Arthritis

The 2nd annual report analyses data on 5,002 patients, who were recruited between 1 February and 30 October 2015. The report provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of rheumatology services to date, with national and regional benchmarking available for 124 (88%) of providers. In addition to measuring compliance against NICE Quality Standards, new analyses have been provided in a number of areas, including the relationship between nurse staffing levels and NICE Quality Standards 3 and 5, along with provider-level staffing data.

The key findings include:

  • 68% of patients were treated with disease modifying drugs within 6 weeks of referral (NICE Quality Standard 3), up from 53% in year 1; there was a strong correlation between nurse staffing levels and timely initiation of treatment.
  • 95% of patients agreed that they had a good experience of specialist care, up from 78% in year 1. 1% of patients disagreed, which is an unchanged statistic from year 1 even with the increase in sample size.
  • The national findings continued to disguise considerable variation at a local level. Compliance with NICE Quality Standard 2 (the ability to see patients within 3 weeks of referral) for example ranged from 47% in London to 22% in Wales.
  • Data from the audit is being used to facilitate discussions with commissioners with a view to delivering better patient care.

Recommendations include the need to understand variation in performance, facilitated by peer support and dissemination of best practice, with a view to developing plans for service improvement:

Please download the following:

Clinician report 
Patient report 
Press release - Second National Clinical Audit report
Presentation of key findings