Rheumatology services

Clinicians and Commissioners across County Durham, Darlington and Tees are working together to help improve Rheumatology services for patients.


The aim of the improvement project is to offer a more consistent service to patients no matter where they live across the County Durham, Darlington, Tees and North Yorkshire areas, and ensure patients are seen in the right place, by the right clinician, first time. To help us achieve this, clinicians from across the area will be working together to look at how the current model for accessing services can be improved.


Patient feedback will also be key, and those currently accessing services will have the chance to have their say on their experiences, positive aspects and areas where they think the services could be improved. The work will also focus on improving the time from first referral to treatment, and ensure patients are able to access services as close to their home as possible.


What does Rheumatology services include?

Rheumatology deals with the investigation, diagnosis and management of patients with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. This a range of disorders affecting joints, bones, muscles and soft tissues (this includes inflammatory arthritis, autoimmune disorders, vasculitis, soft tissue conditions and metabolic bone diseases).


How patients can contribute

To help inform the clinical workshops we are asking Rheumatology patients for their comments and suggestions. We are working with the providers of local Rheumatology services to help reach those individuals attending appointments.

As part of our engagement work, we asked patients to complete a short survey, to help us understand the experience of living with these conditions and the services that currently support patients. The feedback will also provide insights into gaps patients might see or improvements we could make to future services that might be more responsive to patients needs and provide consistency across the Durham, Darlington, Tees and North Yorkshire areas.

Update on patient engagement

A summary of the engagement is available below:

Rheumatology Improvement Project – Engagement Summary Report September 2018

Rheumatology Improvement Project – Patient Focus Group Summary Report November 2018

In addition, information from the patient feedback was used as part of the discussions at a Clinical event in October.  A video with patient interviews was played at the event as part of the feedback with patients talking about their experiences in their won words.  The dialogue with these patients is continuing to help to continue to shape and inform the development of the future model.  Further updates will be published on this page in due course.

If you have any questions or queries, please contact the Engagement team on 0191 389 8617 or at d.blagdon@nhs.net.