Time to diagnosis audit

NASS, in collaboration with rheumatology teams from our Aspiring to Excellence programme, has developed a patient survey tool to measure and monitor how long patients wait for a diagnosis of axial SpA, from symptom onset in the UK.

To measure the programme’s performance, a group of participating clinicians worked with us in the summer of 2022 to create a new audit tool. Our aim was to measure at each site: time from symptom onset to presentation in primary care; time from first presentation to referral; time from referral to first appointment in rheumatology; and time from first appointment in rheumatology to diagnosis.

In September 2023 we published initial results of the first four-nation UK audit of time to diagnosis in axial SpA. We don’t yet have a comprehensive picture across the UK, and the numbers of patients per department are small overall. This means that we aren’t confident enough that the results in the report providing a baseline position. Nevertheless, this is already the largest current data set in the UK on diagnostic delay. In 2023 the audit received an award from the British Society for Spondyloarthritis (BRITSpA) for showcasing excellence in service delivery and improvement at their annual scientific meeting.

 View and read the full report: What is the average time to diagnosis for axial spondyloarthritis in the UK?

Join the audit


NASS wants to take this opportunity to thank all the 19 Aspiring to Excellence teams who have taken part in the audit to date, the additional rheumatology teams signed up, the programme sponsors and of course the patients who took the time to complete the survey.

This survey and audit tool is funded by the Aspiring to Excellence programme which is led by NASS in partnership with BRITSpA and the NHS Transformation Unit and sponsored by Abbvie, Biogen, Lilly, Novartis and UCB.