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We’re looking for rheumatology teams to drive down diagnosis times for patients with axial SpA


Today, NASS has launched the search for the third round of teams to join the Aspiring to Excellence programme. The successful applicants will be tasked with planning and implementing projects aimed at reducing diagnosis times for people with axial SpA.

Aspiring to Excellence is an award programme designed to encourage and recognise service improvement in axial SpA care. It is open to rheumatology services across the UK.

The programme provides a new focal point from which professionals can explore and test approaches to reduce the delay to diagnosis and improve care and patient experience.

Selected through a competitive award process, they work together in a national network and are supported by our partner and technical provider, the NHS Transformation Unit. The programme is based on the Breakthrough Collaborative model, with a series of network meetings and support online in between meetings.

So far, two rounds of teams have entered the programme (11 in total). The first starting in 2019 and the second joining during 2021.

The third round of teams will be asked to embark upon projects that specifically aim to tackle the delay to diagnosis faced by patients with axial SpA.

Dr Dale Webb, CEO at NASS said: “Right now, diagnosis of axial SpA is taking too long. NASS is on a mission to change this. We’re looking for rheumatology services who are driven to provide high quality patient-centred care to apply for a place on the Aspiring to Excellence programme. Successful teams will join a cadre of peers from across the UK. They’ll have the opportunity to build their service, working collaboratively to share best practice, demonstrating effective leadership and team-work which transform care in the UK and beyond.”

You can learn more about the Aspiring to Excellence programme by reading the first learning report: Driving Improvements in Axial SpA Care: Building Strong Foundations Through Aspiring to Excellence.

Interested parties can apply by completing this application form and submitting it to Dr Dale Webb ( by 10am on 4 May.

For information download this guidance document.