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National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit

This audit will help to improve the quality of care for people living with inflammatory arthritis across England and Wales. Commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), as part of the National Clinical Audit Programme, the National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit will be carried out by BSR, with support from Kings College London and Netsolving.

Dr Jo Ledingham, Clinical Audit Director
Dr Jo Ledingham, Clinical Audit Director

"HQIP support and funding for phase 2 of this audit underlines the importance to the health economy, but also to society more widely, of the early identification and treatment of inflammatory arthritis. Many rheumatology units have struggled to achieve the quality statements set by NICE and this audit should be a tool that can be used to assist units in improving the care they can provide to these patients’"

Benefits of taking part:

  • The audit will generate unit-level data, benchmarked to regional and national comparators against NICE Quality Standard 33 and other key metrics
  • It will quantify the impact of the last audit in more detail, measuring how reconfiguration and staffing changes have changed practice and patient care

What we are doing to support units:

  • Streamlined the amount of data the audit collects and introduced a new, more user-friendly IT system
  • Appointed 5 regional champions, based on the NHS Regions and Wales, to work with units to address emerging issues and facilitate communication with the society
  • Writing to Trust CEOs and clinical leads to raise awareness about the audit, including the requirement to participate under the terms of the standard NHS contract, and ensure appropriate resources are put into place
  • FAQs will be published within the audit tool and quarterly updates to be published post-launch. 

Data collection:

All new patients over the age of 16 years presenting for the first time with suspected inflammatory arthritis should be recruited. Data collection for patients with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis will be at three time points across 12 months, assessing waiting times; time to treatment; clinical response to treatment; provision of education and patient reported outcomes. 

For patients with axial spondyloarthritis, data collected will be referral time and waiting time to first appointment.

Online platforms coming soon for clinicians and patients:

Clinician writing notes


This platform will be accessible in May.

Female logging information via laptop


This platform will be accessible in May.

Key dates to remember:

  • Pilot of the new dataset and online tool - end of January
  • Session at the Annual conference – 3 May
  • Launch of the audit - w/c 7 May
  • Publish the 1st annual reports (clinician and patient) – Autumn 2019.



Everything you need to know about the audit project, what data to collect and how - in a handy 30 minute webinar. Audit lead analyst Dr James Galloway talks you through the essentials and answers your questions. 

Register for the next live webinars:

View on-demand webinar >

Want to know more?

If you would like more information on the audit please get in touch with us.

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Reports and case studies

Access reports from the first and second year National clinical audits, plus our collection of case studies.

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