GIRFT launches new specialty review into paediatric rheumatology services

The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme has appointed two specialist clinicians to lead a new national review into rheumatology services for children and young people.

Dr Flora McErlane (paediatric rheumatology clinical lead at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), and Dr Gavin Cleary (paediatric rheumatologist at Alder Hey Childrens NHS Foundation Trust) will work as joint clinical leads for the new GIRFT workstream, conducting data-driven peer review visits with all specialist paediatric rheumatology centres across England.

The aim is to develop national pathways, share best practice, and extend support to centres facing challenges, with a particular focus on the variation in transition and transfer pathways for inflammatory conditions, as well as on workforce and operational efficiency.

“We are delighted with our appointment as co-clinical leads for the paediatric rheumatology GIRFT programme. JIA Learn has highlighted a widespread enthusiasm across our community to work together towards improved clinical care. The GIRFT programme is a fantastic opportunity to implement a data-driven approach to exploring variation and improving care and outcomes for inflammatory and non-inflammatory paediatric rheumatology patients living across England.”

Flora and Gavin are also the founders and joint leaders of the British Society for Rheumatology’s Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Learn quality improvement collaborative (JIA Learn), which is funded by the BSR in partnership with GIRFT, and are committed to improving the quality and availability of data across paediatric rheumatology. In their GIRFT roles, they will be appointing a team of specialty advisers to support them and to represent the multi-disciplinary professionals working in paediatric and adolescent rheumatology.

“Improving standards of care is so important to patients, families and clinical teams alike, and this GIRFT workstream provides exciting opportunities for us to work together as a community to improve outcomes and experiences for the children and young people we care for. The programme is timely following the recent work by our community alongside patients, families and charity partners in the BSR funded JIA Learn improvement collaborative. I am optimistic this will provide strong foundations for us to build upon to deliver the paediatric rheumatology GIRFT workstream.”

“We already know there is wide variation in young adult rheumatology services which affects the success of transition from paediatric care at such an important time in these young peoples’ lives, so I am delighted to see this will be a key focus of the work Flora and Gavin will be carrying out for GIRFT. I look forward to seeing and hearing about the progress they can make in using the data to help understand and identify variations nationally and applying the GIRFT methods which have achieved such success in other workstreams.”

“I am delighted that Flora and Gavin are co-leading the GIRFT workstream. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to meaningfully understand and further develop gold standard and equitable services for all young people with inflammatory or non-inflammatory rheumatological conditions.”

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