Fife spinal team joins groundbreaking Aspiring to Excellence programme

Published: Monday 09 Dec 2019

FRDU Spinal Team

FRDU Spinal Team

Fife's spinal team in the Rheumatic Disease Unit has been selected as one of the winners of the first ever Aspiring to Excellence Awards.

The National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS) programme, which is designed to encourage and recognise service improvement in axial spondyloarthritis (axial SpA) care, is the largest of its kind in the UK. It will see expert support given to selected rheumatology departments to help catalyse across-the-board improvements in the availability of services and quality of care available for axial SpA patients.

Aspiring to Excellence has been launched to address longstanding challenges in axial SpA, a condition which affects approximately 1 in 200 of the adult population (around 220,000 people) in the UK. The programme aims to reduce the current average 8.5-year delay to diagnosis and encourage the delivery of ‘gold-standard’ 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 spondyloarthritiscommunity. 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.”

 The Aspiring to Excellence initiative is a healthcare improvement programme in axial SpA. Representing the largest programme of its kind, it will work with rheumatology services to attain new performance standards and then work with others to drive improvements across the NHS. The first six teams that will join the programme are:

  • Axial Spondyloarthritis Service team, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sheffield Spondyloarthritis Team, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Axial Spondyloarthritis Service team, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
  • Axial Spondyloarthritis Service team, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Leeds Spondyloarthritis Service, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Spinal team, Fife Rheumatic Diseases Unit, NHS Fife


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