Dr Ben Thompson to feature on service improvement podcast which celebrates innovations in care for patients with axial SpA

This week, the Dr Ben Thompson, Consultant Rheumatologist at Newcastle Hospitals will feature on ‘Rheum for Improvement’ – the podcast dedicated to service improvement in axial SpA care.

Rheum for Improvement was created by the National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS) to share the learning from teams who are part of the Aspiring to Excellence programme.

In each episode, hosts Lucy Davies (Deputy Director at the NHS Transformation Unit) and Hasan Tahir (Rheumatologist at Royal Free London) meet healthcare professionals from across the UK who are part of the programme and have driven a service improvement project in their department.

The aim of the podcast is to offer listeners an authentic look into the strategies, tactics, highs and lows of a service improvement project. The podcast has been created to inspire Rheumatology teams to test and implement change in their own departments.

Dr Ben Thompson, Consultant Rheumatologist at the Freeman Hospital

Dr Thompson is based at the Freeman Hospital and appeared on the podcast to talk about the service improvement project which looked at physio services for patients with Axial Spondyloarthritis.

Dr Ben Thompson said: “Our QI project was in collaboration with the Tyneside Integrated Musculoskeletal Service (TIMS) and was in two parts, first we looked at whether TIMS physios were able to identify  people with back pain who may have  Axial Spondyloarthritis and the second looked at whether we were able to improve the care given to patients.”

Axial Spondyloarthritis is a type of arthritis. It mostly causes pain and stiffness in the spine and the joints that connect the bottom of the spine to the pelvis (sacroiliac joint). Other joints can be affected as well. It is a systemic disease, which means it may affect other body parts and organs – it also tends to run in families.

Dr Thompson continues: “Although Axial Spondyloarthritis affects around 1 in 200 people its symptoms are not widely known, and many people can be left untreated for years without a diagnosis. We’ve worked closely with TIMS on education, setting standards and measuring the work we’ve been doing. By working in collaboration, we have been able to make sure the team can recognise and refer people who may have Axial SpA and are able to offer them the care and physio treatments they need. It’s fantastic to get the support and be able to showcase the work we’ve been doing.”

Dr Dale Webb, CEO at NASS said: “We’re so grateful to all the healthcare professionals who appeared as guests on the podcast.”

“By sharing their personal experiences of a service improvement project, they have contributed to an accessible peer-to-peer learning resource that will give professionals around the world the strategies, tactics and inspiration necessary to transform care for their patients.

“Insights such as these are like gold dust. These are people who have been there and done it. They have seen first-hand how incredible the results are when you keep pushing towards change.

”I would encourage any healthcare professional that works with patients who have axial SpA to tune in.”

Season 1 of the podcast consists of six, 30-minute episodes which see the hosts meeting experts from NHS Trusts across the UK.

Episodes are certified for professional development, meaning listeners are awarded CPD points and a certificate at the end.

You can learn more about the podcast and access episodes by visiting: www.nass.co.uk/rheumforimprovement  

The Aspiring to Excellence programme is brought to you by NASS, in partnership with BritSpA and the NHS Transformation Unit and sponsored by Abbvie, Biogen, Lilly, Novartis and UCB.

You can find out more about Axial Spondyoarthritis here https://nass.co.uk/

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