Last updated:3rd August 2017

HQIP audit to include AS for first time

In 2014 the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) commissioned an audit which examined the assessment and early secondary care management of all forms of peripheral joint early inflammatory arthritis (such as RA) in NHS secondary care settings in England and Wales. Detailed follow up and outcome data was collected on patients up to three months from recruitment.

The data gathered from this audit benchmarked rheumatology services across England and Wales and has been hugely influential in service improvements for people with conditions like RA.

NASS is delighted with the announcement that the next audit will include axial spondyloarthritis (AS). The British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) has been awarded the contract to run the three year 'National Rheumatoid and Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit'.

It will assess the care provided by rheumatology services in England and Wales and the health outcomes this achieves for people living with inflammatory arthritis conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis (AS). The performance of services will be assessed against NICE quality standards, measuring key items such as referral times from primary care, waiting time for specialised rheumatology care, time to treatment, access to education and self-management, and the outcome of care including disease remission.  

Debbie Cook, NASS Chief Executive says:

It's only when robust data is collected that we can evidence where services need to improve. This audit will gather evidence on delays to diagnosis and management of axial spondyloarthritis (AS) and, we hope, lead to real improvements.

NASS has lobbied hard behind the scenes for axial spondyloarthritis to be included within the HQIP audit and we are delighted with this announcement.'