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NASS Announces the Second Cohort of Rheumatology Teams to Join its Ground-Breaking Aspiring to Excellence programme


This week, five new teams from NHS hospitals across the UK will start their journey on the Aspiring to Excellence programme. The programme is a strategic partnership between NASS, BRITSpA and sponsoring companies AbbVie, Biogen, Lilly, Novartis and UCB. 

Aspiring to Excellence is the only programme of its kind in axial SpA and is designed to encourage and recognise service improvement in the care of patients with the condition. It provides expert support to selected rheumatology teams to help them catalyse improvements within their departments. 

The teams joining the programme this year are from: 

University Hospitals of Leicester  

The Royal Free London 

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals  

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust 

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust 

NASS CEO, Dr Dale Webb said: “NASS launched Aspiring to Excellence in 2019 to address longstanding challenges in the treatment and care of axial SpA. The programme aims to help reduce the average 8.5 year delay to diagnosis that patients currently face and encourages a gold standard level of care.  

“Last year, six hospital teams joined the programme and persevered throughout the pandemic, ensuring that they continued their development journey despite the adversity they faced tackling Covid-19. We’re delighted to welcome these five new teams onto the programme today. Their passion, vision and commitment to improving care for patients with axial SpA is monumental. Together, the variety of expertise shared across these teams will create a rich learning environment which will be extremely beneficial for patients.”  

These teams will work together to galvanize new processes and bring together departments to innovate care. They will explore creative approaches to overcoming existing barriers in local axial SpA service delivery in a learning environment which combines the expertise of NHS Trusts across the country. Teams will draw on the support from the NHS Transformation Unit who will work closely with participants to help them achieve their goals.  

We’re sure the NASS community will join us in extending a warm welcome to the new teams.  

Learn more about the Aspiring to Excellence programme and all the teams taking part. 


Notes for editors. 

  1. About the National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS). We seek to transform the diagnosis and care of people living with axial SpA. We campaign policy makers for early diagnosis and better services. We work with the NHS to get axial SpA identified and diagnosed quickly. 

We’re determined that everyone receives effective care. We make sure people with axial SpA get the latest information and the support they need to tackle living with this condition. 

And we build an active community, online and through our local branches across the UK. 

Axial SpA may work silently. But we don’t.