Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance

BSR: Three-year Clinical Audit

by Garreth


New three-year contract to help improve care for patients with rheumatic conditions

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) has awarded the British Society for Rheumatology and Northgate Public Services a three-year contract to develop a national clinical audit for inflammatory arthritis as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP).

The audit will provide comparative details of the assessment, management and outcomes for people with these diseases. The audit is being designed so that results help clinicians improve the quality of care for patients and control their joint inflammation. For patients the aim is that they will be more aware of their care and more able to take control of their personal health.

The British Society for Rheumatology and Northgate will be working with 14 British Society for Rheumatology Regional Chairs who are experienced in recruiting patient clinical data. Statistical expertise will also come from the Statistical Lead and the Epidemiology Lead from the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at Southampton University. The audit will ensure that key insights are tailored to local regions under a national support network to ensure that all stakeholders are actively engaged and participating.

Dr Chris Deighton, President of the British Society for Rheumatology, commented: “The British Society for Rheumatology represents clinicians who provide rheumatology services to people suffering from these potentially disabling and life-threatening conditions – which affect every aspect of their lives. We are very excited to be involved in this important nationally-funded audit, in line with the government’s drive to promote clinical leadership in health services. The HQIP audit represents a fantastic opportunity to improve care for patients over the coming years.”

Andy Gordon-Jones, Director of Healthcare at Northgate Public Services, commented:
“We are delighted to have been awarded this exciting new project which aims to provide clinicians with information that will in the long run help significantly benefit people with early inflammatory and rheumatoid arthritis. Working with the British Society for Rheumatology we are uniquely positioned to have access to nearly 100% of rheumatologist members and an already established UK-wide network of support for these members. Furthermore, working with the specialist Epidemiology and Statistical Analysis from the Medical Research Council will help ensure a quality audit.”

HQIP National Clinical Audit Lead Helen Laing added: “We are delighted to launch this project in a vital area of healthcare and welcome new suppliers to NCAPOP. In their tender the BSR and Northgate team clearly illustrated strategies which will provide platforms for real change at local levels and we look forward to seeing the results.”

For further information, contact:

  • Northgate Public Services communications team: Northgate press office – / 0207 478 7803



  1. Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1% of adults. It is one of a group of inflammatory conditions that causes substantial pain and disability. It is important to diagnose and treat inflammatory conditions early, to minimise joint damage and disability.
  3. In 1976, at the World Health Assembly, the then Director-General of the World Health Organisation Halfdan Mahler said: “Perhaps the most fundamental difficulty in regard to rheumatic diseases is that the problem is insufficiently appreciated and understood. Critical to this lack of appreciation is an information deficit.”
  4. The HQIP programme will comprise:
  • The clinical audit of representative samples of new patients presenting to secondary care with data collected at presentation and key diagnostic, management and outcomes data for the subsequent three-month period.
  • The inclusion of working capacity items in the dataset where appropriate.
  • The capture of patient reported outcomes and experience data where appropriate.
  • The inclusion of an organisational audit if there is an evidenced link between organisational provision and patient outcome.

    5.   The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) is led by a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and National Voices.  Its aim is to promote quality improvement, and in particular to increase the impact that clinical audit has on healthcare quality in England and Wales.  HQIP hosts the contract to manage and develop the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP). The programme comprises more than 30 clinical audits that cover care provided to people with a wide range of medical, surgical and mental health conditions.
    6.    Northgate Public Services: Northgate Public Services plays a unique role in the delivery of efficient and effective public services. We have built an understanding of, and been committed to, the complex, changing and often challenging business of delivering services in local government, safety and healthcare. We help public service providers reduce costs and deliver people-critical services. The strength of these foundations is The Northgate Advantage, a combination of deep public sector expertise and insight, our advanced technology platforms and applications, and a portfolio of flexible service delivery options. Our commitment to understand our customers’ needs and the needs of their customer, the citizen, is what allows us to deliver business-critical capabilities which positively impact upon the lives of millions of people.
    7.     British Society for Rheumatology: The British Society for Rheumatology exists to promote excellence in the treatment of people with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions and to support those delivering it. As a professional association representing those with an interest in musculoskeletal conditions, the British Society for Rheumatology aims to improve standards of care in rheumatology and secure a high priority for rheumatology services. Further details are at

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