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The Covid crisis leads to an opportunity to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience

A recent webinar with 180 primary care network (PCN) clinical pharmacists, GPs, nurses, rheumatologists, system leaders and patient organisations discussed the ways that the PCN model of care can:

  • Simultaneously implement the structured medication review (SMR) and optimisation service specification and improve the management of inflammatory arthritis (IA) and other long-term conditions.
  • Improve access to care
  • Lower costs to the NHS
  • Deliver better outcomes for patients
  • Improve the adherence of patients on IA treatments
  • Deliver care closer to home
  • Shorten waiting times to see clinical specialties
  • Improve the integration between clinical specialties and primary care

The webinar organised by PCC, the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) and Medical Management Services with support from an educational grant from Abbvie was entitled “Simultaneously implementing SMR and optimisation and improving integration for inflammatory arthritis” and it heard from:

  • Ms Debbie Ratu, PCN Operations Director, North Buckinghamshire PCN which started a unique PCN Model of Care in the community for patients on disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to deliver the above benefits.
  • The founder of the NRAS Ailsa Bosworth MBE, about how a “New 2RARight Start Programme” improves access to support for self – management.
  • Dr Raj Sengupta, Rheumatologist, Royal United Hospital, Bath on how NICE guidance on the diagnosis, initiating treatment & regular treatment reviews needs to be improved for patients with inflammatory arthritis.
  • Dr Selma Stafford, GP, Clinical Director, Sussex MSK Partnership which has increased capacity in primary care by offering patients with MSK direct access to advice, assessment and self- management by introducing first contact practitioners.
  • Dr Stuart Kyle, Rheumatologist, North Devon Health Care Trust who has developed a very timely service to improve the convenience and quality of IA services for patients across Devon by introducing virtual clinics.

As Debbie Ratu, PCN Operations Director in North Bucks PCN said “We have been working with private sector providers (Phoenix Healthcare and Medacy Clinical Services) to design and deliver a private sector, specialist pharmacy – led clinical service on developing this new DMARD service Specially trained clinical pharmacists with the hospital rheumatology team significantly improve patient access, outcomes and support via this new model of care. It is not about preventing patients from seeing consultants when they need to, it is about delivering quality care closer to home and frees up consultants to see acutely unwell patients sooner.”

Debbie went onto say “This clinical hub means the patient will remain under the overall care of the rheumatologist and allows for scalability both across Buckinghamshire PCN’s and extending the service to patients on the new biologic treatments”.

Helen Northall Chief Executive, PCC said “ This webinar is the start of a staged project with Medical Management Services looking at how this clinical hub model combined with other new innovations such as virtual clinics and the NRAS 2RA right start programme can improve the true value of integrated NHS service by increasing clinical outcomes, patient experience and overall efficiency of the NHS”.

Clive Johnstone, Managing Director of MMS said “As Helen eluded to we are looking forward to working with PCC on the follow–up stages of developing tools, techniques & measurable KPI’s culminating with implementation workshops, for PCNs, clinical pharmacists, rheumatologists, other members of the MDT and the NRAS. We are also planning similar projects for other long-term conditions and would like to hear from interested PCNs & other organisations”

Please contact Mike Fry at PCC mike.fry@pcc.nhs.uk or Clive Johnstone at MMS c.johnstone@mms.co.uk.