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19.11.19

NASS announces first six hospitals to join Aspiring to Excellence project

The National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS) has announced the six winners of its first ever Aspiring to Excellence awards.

A multi-year programme, it has been designed to encourage and recognise service improvement in axial spondyloarthritis (axial SpA) care. It is the largest of its kind in the UK.

The ground-breaking programme will see expert support given to selected rheumatology departments across the country to help catalyse improvements across the board in the availability of services and quality of care for axial SpA patients.

Aspiring to Excellence group photo

Representatives from the 6 winning teams, sponsors, NASS and the NHS Transformation Unit
 

Aspiring to Excellence was launched to address long-standing challenges in axial SpA care. The condition affects approximately 1 in 200 of the adult population in the UK (around 220,000 people). It is aimed that the programme will reduce the current average 8.5-year delay to diagnosis for the condition and encourage the delivery of a ‘gold-standard’ of care to those living with axial SpA.

Knowledge and experience generated from the centres will be shared to help maximise the benefits for the axial SpA community within the UK and beyond.

NASS chief executive, Dr Dale Webb, said: “Aspiring to Excellence will become a focal point for the axial spondyloarthritis community. It will stimulate debate and encourage innovation, testing new approaches to reduce the time to diagnosis and deliver the strongest improvements in axial SpA outcomes.

“Over the next three years, the programme is set to become the largest axial SpA healthcare improvement programme anywhere in the world and we are incredibly excited by its potential.”

Sally Deacon, associate director at the NHS Transformation Unit, which specialises in large-scale clinical services, healthcare consulting and change management, added: “We have a strong track record of working with the public, patients and NHS staff to drive positive change in NHS services.

“We are excited and committed to providing quality improvement expertise for the Aspiring to Excellence programme, supporting healthcare professionals to deliver the best services they can for patients living with axial SpA.”

The programme will be delivered via four network meetings per annum over a three-year period, supported by a team of clinical and learning experts. The winning services will explore creative approaches to overcoming existing barriers in local axial SpA service delivery across a multi-site learning environment.

This will draw on the support of a range of clinical and education experts, who will work closely with the centres to help them achieve their goals. Aspiring to Excellence is a strategic partnership led by NASS and BRITSpA and is sponsored by a number of pharmaceutical companies.

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