Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinic launches


The Rheumatology Department is pleased to announce the start of a new service: The Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinic (EIA).

The clinics will be held once a week on Tuesday mornings at Cheltenham General Hospital and Tuesday afternoons at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital starting on 2 April 2013. The focus will be on patients referred with suspected inflammatory arthritis and the aim will be to identify patients who will benefit from treatment within three months of onset of symptoms. 

Patients will be seen within three weeks of their referral. A referral guideline for patients with suspected inflammatory arthritis will be used to screen referrals via choose and book. 

We have set up the Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinic based on the research evidence that early treatment of inflammatory arthritis leads to better disease control, less joint damage and disability and improved long-term prognosis. Patients will be assessed and treatment started as soon as the diagnosis of Early Inflammatory Arthritis is confirmed. Follow up appointments will be arranged approximately every 4-6 weeks in order to escalate treatment as indicated, aiming for early remission of disease based on a treat to target plan using the Disease Activity Score as recommended by the British Society for Rheumatology and NICE.

Please see attached the Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinic referral pro forma and the appointment letter which will be sent out to patients. Our intention is that the referral pro forma will assist referrers in identifying patients with suspected early inflammatory arthritis.   We are very grateful for your continued help in working together for the benefit of patients with early inflammatory arthritis. 

The Rheumatology Consultants