Quality standard

Quality statements

Quality statements

Statement 1 Adults with suspected persistent synovitis affecting more than 1 joint, or the small joints of the hands and feet, are referred to rheumatology services within 3 working days of presenting in primary care. [2013, updated 2020]

Statement 2 Adults with active rheumatoid arthritis start conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (cDMARD) monotherapy within 6 weeks of referral, with monthly monitoring until their treatment target is met. [2013, updated 2020]

Statement 3 Adults with rheumatoid arthritis are given opportunities throughout the course of their disease to take part in educational activities that support self-management. [2013, updated 2020]

Statement 4 Adults with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible treatment-related side effects receive advice within 1 working day of contacting rheumatology services. [2013, updated 2020]

Statement 5 Adults with rheumatoid arthritis have a comprehensive annual review that is coordinated by rheumatology services. [2013, updated 2020]

In 2020, this quality standard was updated and statements prioritised in 2013 were updated [2013, updated 2020]. For more information, see update information.

The following statement from the 2013 quality standard for rheumatoid arthritis in over 16s is still supported by the evidence and may still be useful at a local level, but is not included within the current quality standard:

People with suspected persistent synovitis are assessed in a rheumatology service within 3 weeks of referral.

The 2013 quality standard for rheumatoid arthritis in over 16s is available as a pdf.

NICE has developed guidance and a quality standard on patient experience in adult NHS services (see the NICE Pathway on patient experience in adult NHS services), which should be considered alongside these quality statements.

A full list of NICE quality standards is available from the quality standards topic library.