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Congratulations to our rheumatology team

Rheumatology Team Congratulations to the Rheumatology Team at Derriford Hospital, who run Direct Access that was runner up for Best Practice in this year’s British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) and Musculoskeletal Health Awards.

The Direct Access project is the clinical service name for a Patient Initiated Appointment System (PIAS). PIAS mean that patients with chronic conditions such as arthritis are more in control of their treatment.

They can contact a specialist nurse when they are worried about an aspect of their disease or its consequences. Then, if necessary a prompt appointment can be made, rather than being scheduled for intermittent regular reviews when they don’t necessarily need them or when their symptoms are not as apparent.

In a letter to the team announcing the decision, Dr Peter Lanyon, President-elect of BSR and Chair of the judging panel for the awards, said: “The panel was greatly impressed by the truly patient centred and multidisciplinary approach taken to delivering services to people with rheumatic conditions, and of the prime example of translating research into changes to clinical practice … What has been achieved in Plymouth has been most impressive.”

Project lead from the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC), Dr Vicki Goodwin, said: “The Rheumatology team at Derriford has worked very hard on developing their patient referral 'Direct Access' service in conjunction with their patients and PenCLAHRC. Being finalists has been a great boost to their morale and reflects the desire in the team to improve treatment for patients.”

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust Consultant Rheumatologist and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, Dr Mark Perry, said: “Of course we would have loved to have won the award but I am very proud that the BSR contacted us to submit our work, and more importantly of the team in delivering this innovative, effective, safe and efficient care.”

Research and evaluation of Patient Initiated Appointment Systems has been led by NIHR PenCLAHRC in association with the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN).

As a result of their award shortlisting, the team will be invited to a BSR Best Practice Awards learning event later this year.

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