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Despite the pressures we’re all under, our rheumatology community continues to support each other and deliver great care for patients. BSR will always be there for the community during difficult times. In addition to our continuing support of the pandemic response, we continue to innovate and develop new initiatives to help the entire multidisciplinary team (MDT) care for our patients.


As part of this, we’re developing a new strategic plan. Your input is critical – I really want you to tell me what we should be prioritising, and a survey will be sent out in the next few months so you can do this.


We continue to engage with our expanded MDT Advisory Council, which now includes, for the first time, regional and national representation from nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists, psychologists and consultants from the adult and paediatric and adolescent community.


We're working on consolidating our quality improvement work. In 2022, as well as measuring quality of care, we want to help you improve care. We’ll do this by taking forward recommendations from our audit reports, reviewing and developing the Quality Review Scheme (following the recent successful accreditation of the first three pilot sites), and supporting our Best Practice Award winners, announced at Annual Conference in April 2022.


Turning to contributions from members, I want to give a particular thanks to those who continue to work behind-the-scenes on our committees and our clinical guidelines despite increasing clinical workloads. In the next few months we’re launching three new guidelines: myositis, pregnancy and psoriatic arthritis.


Some more of what you can expect this year:


  • Our NEIAA ethnicity report, launching in mid-January, explores the association between ethnicity and achievement of quality standards and patient outcomes

  • A bespoke quality improvement programme begins for paediatric and adolescent rheumatology, bringing multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) together with patients and families to improve quality of care for juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients

  • A new, fully-funded leadership programme for the MDT, more investment in eLearning and new educational opportunities online and face-to-face for nurse and allied health professional members

  • We’re delighted to be holding our Paediatric and adolescent rheumatology conference, co-located with our adult Case-based conference

  • NHS England and NHS Improvement is re-tendering our National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit (NEIAA) for a new five-year contract from September

  • Continued lobbying of our workforce recommendations and work to promote rheumatology as a career

  • Outputs and recommendations from the Research Working Group to increase our contribution to rheumatology research.

I’m also pleased to say that we’ve decided not to increase membership fees this year and reduced conference fees across all categories; registration for Annual Conference opens next week, so keep an eye out for early bird booking. I’m really looking forward to being in Glasgow and seeing you face-to-face once more.


I'd like to conclude by wishing Prof Ali Jawad congratulations on his OBE for services to healthcare in the New Year's Honours.