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National acclaim for Trafford’s arthritis service

Arthritis team
Trafford General's Rheumatology service is one of only five in the UK to have been recognised as 'Outstanding' for its ground-breaking and innovative practice in treating inflammatory arthritis. This recognition focuses on the role of four specialist nurses in the department who work at an advanced level, meaning patients can be seen and receive treatment quickly for their condition.

The awards were decided by an expert judging panel organised by the British Society for Rheumatology and included world experts in rheumatology, patient representatives from the UK and Europe, the British Orthopaedic Association, and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The team of nurses has completed advanced training in rheumatology to take on extra clinical responsibilities such as prescribing medication, and giving injections to patients experiencing arthritic pain or 'flares'.

Consultant Frank McKenna says this support enables the service to excel: "We have such a strong team of highly skilled nurse specialists who offer a much broader service to our patients. Our nurses are trained to take on more responsibility, meaning patients can be seen frequently and their symptoms addressed promptly. This also enables the department's consultants to spend more time focusing on complex cases."

Sisters Vicky Chamberlain and Yoke Mei McLoughlin feel that patients appreciate the work they do. Victoria Chamberlain said: "It is very satisfying to work in such a close team and know that you are giving people treatment as quickly as possible."

For those who have been diagnosed with the condition, the department offers a drop-in service for any of their patients who are experiencing a 'flare' of their arthritis. It is run by the rheumatology specialist nurses and was initiated by Sister Janita Hayes more than 20 years ago. She recalls: "We have always felt it was important to treat a flare as quickly as possible, not only to relieve the severe pain but to prevent damage to joints." Patients can be seen between their routine appointments, without having to go back to their GP. Arthritis sufferers can contact the department via a telephone advice line for guidance and, if necessary, be invited to attend for treatment.

Issued by:  Lauren Flanagan   Tel: 0161 701 8597 E-mail: lauren.flanagan@cmft.nhs.uk

Notes to editors

Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis in the UK and the most common inflammatory joint disorder. It affects around 400,000 people in the UK. It causes painful, swollen and stiff joints and is most common in 40 to 50 year olds. Symptoms of the condition include:

  • A throbbing and aching pain, often worse in the mornings and after sitting still for a while.
  • Stiff joints, particularly in the morning.
  • Inflamed joints that may be hot or tender to the touch.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

Trafford General Hospital is part of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a leading provider of tertiary and specialist healthcare services in Manchester.