Engagement update summer 2019

During June 2019, Rheumatology patients who have been involved in the work were invited to attend two further focus group sessions. These sessions were open to any of the patients who had previously been contacted about the review of services and had provided their contact details.

At the two focus groups (Patient Focus Group 2 on the diagram below), staff from the CCG presented an update on the proposals for a future patient pathway. This had been developed over recent months by local clinicians and the comments provided by Rheumatology patients. The feedback from patients about the developing patient pathway was then taken back to ‘Clinical Workshop 3’ (shown on the diagram below) to help further refine the proposals.


Rheumatology services improvement project

Clinicians and Commissioners across County Durham, Darlington, Tees and North Yorkshire are working together to help improve Rheumatology services for patients.

The aim of the improvement project is to offer a more consistent service to patients no matter where they live across the County Durham, Darlington, Tees and North Yorkshire areas, and ensure patients are seen in the right place, by the right clinician, first time. To help us achieve this, clinicians from across the area have been working together to look at how the current model for accessing services can be improved.

Patient feedback will also be key, and those currently accessing services have had the chance to have their say on their experiences, positive aspects and areas where they think the services could be improved. The work has also focussed on improving the time from first referral to treatment, and ensure patients are able to access services as close to their home as possible.

What does Rheumatology services include?

Rheumatology deals with the investigation, diagnosis and management of patients with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. This a range of disorders affecting joints, bones, muscles and soft tissues (this includes inflammatory arthritis, autoimmune disorders, vasculitis, soft tissue conditions and metabolic bone diseases).

How patients have contributed

The diagram below outlines the engagement process that was undertaken as part of this improvement project. There were opportunities for information to be exchanged between patients and clinicians during its development.

To help inform the clinical workshops we asked Rheumatology patients for their comments and suggestions based on their experience of services. We worked with all the providers of local Rheumatology services to help reach those individuals attending appointments with the opportunity to contribute.

As part of our engagement work, local and regional voluntary and community support groups helped reach other patients to complete a short survey. This helped us understand the experience of living with these conditions and the services that currently support patients. The feedback was used to provide insights  improvements services could make in the future that could be more responsive to patients needs and provide consistency across the Durham, Darlington, Tees and North Yorkshire areas.

Information from the patient feedback was used as part of the discussions at a clinical event in October.  In addition, a series of patient interviews were conducted (with patients identified through the local support groups) and used to produce a short animation. This was played at the clinical workshop with patients talking about their experiences in their own words.  The dialogue with these patients is continuing to help continue shaping and informing the development of the future model.  Further updates will be published on this page in due course.

Update on patient engagement

A summary of the engagement is available below:

Rheumatology Improvement Project Engagement Summary Report September 2018

Rheumatology Improvement Project – Patient Focus Group Summary Report November 2018

If you have any questions or queries, please contact the Engagement team on 0191 389 8617 or at d.blagdon@nhs.net.