Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinics

Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinics at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

From the 2nd April 2013 we have been running a new service: The Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinic (EIA).  These clinics are held once a week on Tuesday mornings at Cheltenham General Hospital and on Tuesday afternoons at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.  The focus is on patients referred with suspected inflammatory arthritis and the aim is 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 according to a three week wait rule.  A referral proforma for patients with suspected inflammatory arthritis will be used to screen referrals via choose and book.

We have set up the Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinics 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.

Our intention is that the referral proforma will assist referrers in identifying patients with suspected early inflammatory arthritis. 

Please note that a summary letter outlining the patient's history, joints affected, analgesics and anti-inflammatories used together with previous medical history is also required.