Shaping the RA Service in Scotland - the Patient Voice

In September 2016 an initiative called SMART (Scottish Metrics for the Assessment of RA Treatment) was launched. It had been designed by a partnership working group which included clinicians (Scottish Society of Rheumatology), patient organisations (NRAS and Arthritis Care) and the pharmaceutical industry (Roche Products Ltd). The aim of SMART was to improve the quality of RA management in Scotland by means of collecting, recording and examining information gathered in routine clinic appointments. This system has been in place for a year and, in light of experience, will be relaunched later this year.

So far, only newly diagnosed patients have been included. The second initiative – launched in October - will focus on people with established disease (diagnosed one year or more ago). Where SMART measures patient outcomes, this is looking for information and views on people’s experience of the treatment and care they receive; these will be used as a basis for developing the best possible rheumatology service in line with the wishes, needs and priorities of people with the condition.

For healthcare professionals this is an invaluable way to get essential feedback. We would warmly encourage rheumatology teams to support the initiative as fully as possible.

So, if you have you have had rheumatoid arthritis for a year or more and would like to help shape improvements to the service in Scotland on which we all depend here’s how you can do that. From now until the end of December you will have the opportunity when attending clinic to complete a questionnaire on your experience of treatment and care. The process is simple, quick – 5 to 10 minutes – and completely anonymous. Information gathered will be analysed and used to identify areas of good practice that can be shared across the country and also to highlight your priorities to clinicians, managers and policy makers.

To find out more and learn how NRAS has been involved in this initiative we have created 2 films; one with Dr Neil McKay from the Scottish Society for Rheumatology and the second from our Scottish Ambassadors, Sheila MacLeod, John Paton, Siobhan Gallagher and Allison Elder.

Please do take the time to complete the questionnaire and be confident that your views will make a difference.