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Musculoskeletal Care. 2012 Sep;10(3):171-7. doi: 10.1002/msc.1015. Epub 2012 Jul 10.

Improving the standard of care for people with ankylosing spondylitis and a new approach to developing specialist ESP-Led AS clinics.

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  • 1East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, Canterbury, UK.



In the UK, there is a wide variation in the quality of care that people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) receive. People with AS require early diagnosis and referral to a specialist team to commence treatment and optimize outcome.


At East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, a specialist clinic led by an extended scope practitioner (ESP) physiotherapist has been set up for the assessment and monitoring of patients with AS. This report describes the service provided by the AS clinic.


Over eight years, the number of patients seen has risen from 62 to 352, and annual consultations from 186 to 986, with an average of 2.8 visits per patient per year. Ninety-seven patients have started treatment with a Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker. The service has expanded by the addition of a support worker and biologic clinics.


For the Trust, the specialist service provides an improved quality of care and cost-effective use of staff resources. Evaluation has demonstrated that patients welcome the new service.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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