NASS publishes first learning report from Aspiring to Excellence programme

On Friday 22 October, NASS launched the first learning report to come from the Aspiring to Excellence programme. The document, titled Driving Improvements in axial SpA Services – Building Strong Foundations Through Aspiring to Excellence, reflects on the aims and outcomes to date of projects undertaken by the first round of teams to join the programme. 

Aspiring to Excellence is the first at-scale quality improvement initiative of its kind that focuses specifically on axial SpA.  The programme launched in 2019 with a call for applications, and through a competitive process selected six rheumatology departments to become the first cohort. They began their Aspiring to Excellence journey in 2020 and a second round of teams joined in 2021. The programme is run by NASS in association with the NHS Transformation Unit. 

The report, which can be read here, features accounts from: 

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Improving time to diagnosis through community-based physiotherapy 

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust: Improving time to diagnosis through the development of a referral pathway and reduced variation in imaging 

Chapel Allerton Hospitals, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust: Improving time to diagnosis through tertiary referral, and improving patient flow 

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust: Improving Mental Health and Self-Management  

Fife Rheumatic Diseases Unit, NHS Fife: Improving Patient Engagement and Self-Management of Flares 

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust: Improving the referral of Patients in Flare to Physiotherapy 

Each hospital team picked an area they wanted to tackle and for the last year and a half, they’ve worked through unprecedented conditions created by the Covid-19 pandemic, to successfully deliver positive progress and tangible results. A second report will be published in 2022.  

You can read the report here 

The Aspiring to Excellence programme is run by NASS in partnership with BritSpA and sponsored by BiogenAbbVieLillyNovartis and UCB.