Quality statement 6: Rapid access

Quality statement

People with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible drug-related side effects receive advice within 1 working day of contacting the rheumatology service.

Rationale

It is important that people with rheumatoid arthritis experiencing disease flares or possible drug-related side effects are able to obtain advice from the rheumatology service rapidly, in order to prevent any further joint damage incurring. The sudden loss of function associated with a severe flare can be disabling and frustrating for people, and rapid involvement of a specialist in dealing with any possible drug-related side effects is essential from a patient safety perspective.

Quality measure

Structure: Evidence of local arrangements for people with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible drug-related side effects receive advice within 1 working day of contacting the rheumatology service.

Process: Proportion of people with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible drug-related side effects who receive advice within 1 working day of contacting the rheumatology service.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator who receive advice within 1 working day of contacting the rheumatology service.

Denominator – the number of people with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible drug-related side effects who contact the rheumatology service.

Outcome: Patient experience.

What the quality statement means for each audience

Service providers ensure systems are in place for people with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible drug-related side effects to receive advice within 1 working day of contacting the rheumatology service.

Healthcare professionals ensure that people with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible drug-related side effects receive advice within 1 working day of contacting the rheumatology service.

Commissioners ensure they commission services that enable people with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible drug-related side effects to receive advice within 1 working day of contacting the rheumatology service.

People with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible drug-related side effects receive advice within 1 working day of contacting the rheumatology service.

Source guidance

NICE clinical guideline 79 recommendation 1.5.1.3.

Data source

Structure: Local data collection.

Process: Local data collection. Contained within the British Society for Rheumatology National clinical audit for rheumatoid and early inflammatory arthritis.

Outcome: Local data collection.

Definitions

Timeframe derived from expert consensus.

A rheumatology service comprises a specialist multidisciplinary team, all of whom have expertise in managing rheumatoid arthritis. The team is led by 1 or more consultant rheumatologists and includes nurse specialists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists and orthotists. It has access to supporting specialties including orthopaedic surgery, psychology, radiology with rheumatological ultrasound and MRI experience, and may also have rheumatology doctors in training.