Review of arthritis and rheumatological medical services launches

People with arthritis and other rheumatological conditions are being asked for their views on health services which are currently available and what could be done to improve them.

The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in Bath and North East Somerset and Wiltshire have commissioned the Rheumatology Commissioning Support Alliance to review local rheumatology services and advise them on how to improve services and the patient experience.

People who have osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, ankylosing spondylitis and lupus are invited to give their views via an online survey.

Dr Ian Orpen, of Bath and North East Somerset CCG, said: “It’s essential we involve people living with rheumatological conditions in the plans for services and the support made available to them – otherwise how do you know it’s the right services and support or that people are accessing what is there for them?

“By talking to people and understanding their experiences, as commissioners, we can get a better idea of what is working well, what needs sharing more widely, and where there are gaps in provision. This helps us to commission more effectively.”

Ailsa Bosworth, chief executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and which is a partner in the Alliance, said: “We are committed to supporting local rheumatology patients and healthcare professionals in working alongside commissioners locally to improve the planning and provision of services.

“We know that by liaising directly with people with rheumatological conditions and their families we can find out a lot about the real picture locally and then can use that information to help drive quality and generally improve the way health and social care services are planned and delivered.”

The survey is at www.surveymonkey.com/s/rcsa and comments need to be made by September 8.

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