Scottish rheumatology services are understaffed, say nine in 10 NHS staff

More than 90 per cent of Scottish health professionals working in rheumatology units believe their service is understaffed, an investigation has found.


Understaffing: the report indicates understaffing across rheumatology services in Scotland. Download the report below

Other key findings in the document, titled The State of Play: Scottish rheumatology, include

  • Only 25 per cent of a sample of health professionals say their rheumatology service works in the community, and just nine per cent say there is collaboration with social services.
  • Just 31 per cent believe that services are adequately addressing the need of patients with rare rheumatic conditions.
  • 89 per cent recommend that training to identify rheumatic conditions needs to be spread more widely to other healthcare professionals.
  • Only 26 per cent believe their service ensures that accurate and detailed data are collected about patient activity, diagnoses and outcomes.

An emphasis on rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders throughout general medical and GP training is recommended in the report. Funding should be ring-fenced for specialised rheumatology nurses and allied health professionals.

Kenryck Lloyd-Jones, CSP public affairs and policy manager for Scotland said: ‘This welcome report highlights a number of areas where real improvements can be driven in the delivery of rheumatology services.

‘Physiotherapy plays a key role for this patient group and the CSP supports a roll out of services, such as self-referral to chronic pain physiotherapy, in community settings.

‘More needs to be done to address the current variability in access, scope and type of services available for patients in Scotland. We will be working with patient groups to move these issue up the agenda.’

The report is based on the responses of 49 health professionals in the field who took part in an online survey over four weeks last autumn.

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