Direct access scheme for rheumatology patients wins HSJ award, with physio at the helm

A physio-led project in Devon has won an award for enabling people with rheumatoid arthritis to book appointments whenever their condition gets worse.


Physiotherapist and project lead Victoria Goodwin (second from right) and the rheumatology team from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

The patient-initiated clinic system at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, part of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, triumphed at the Health Service Journal Value in Healthcare Awards this summer.

Known as Direct Access, the system replaces the need for patients to have regular follow-up visits with a rheumatologist.

It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s collaboration for leadership in applied health research and care south west peninsula (PenCLAHRC) scheme.

Physiotherapist Victoria Goodwin headed the research team behind the project, which was recognised in the general medicine category of the awards.

Dr Goodwin, a senior research fellow with PenCLAHRC at the University of Exeter and a CSP fellow and council member, told Frontline: ‘This award was a fantastic achievement for everyone.

‘We used the existing evidence from trials and systematic reviews and together with the clinical team and patients we changed how they run the service.

‘We found this resulted in better patient satisfaction and fewer GP appointments compared to having regular appointments with the specialist.’

The direct access system started in 2011 and now has more than 800 service users.
Author: Robert Millett

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