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Rheumatology (United Kingdom) ; 60(SUPPL 1):i22, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1266146


Background/AimsIn 2017 an audit and survey of giant-cell arteritis (GCA) services wereconducted across northwest England (reported previously). This resurvey in 2020, following publication of revised BSR guidance, soughtto identify what changes were made in the intervening period, andprovided the opportunity to assess the impact of COVID-19.MethodsRheumatologists from 16 hospitals in northwest England were invitedto complete a survey in July 2020. Questions focused on serviceprovision for GCA, including pathways, diagnostics and steroidprescription.ResultsResponses were received from 14/16 sites in 2017, and 15/16 in 2020.9/15 (60%) sites reported that the 2017 audit and survey promptedchanges to GCA services, with two (13%) stating that it clarified theneed for implementation of existing plans. Two sites had a GCApathway in 2017. Four of the seven sites who committed to introducingone have now done so, bringing the total in 2020 to six. Eight of thenine remaining sites plan to implement one, six with a specific datewithin six months. Six (40%) have completed additional local audit/QIsince 2017. Temporal artery (TA) ultrasound (US) is now available in anadditional four sites, bringing the total to 6/15 (40%) in 2020. Two sitesreported improvement in both time between first rheumatologyconsultation and TA biopsy, and time to receive results (now <7days for each task in 6/15 (40%)). Six additional sites reportedproviding leaflets on steroids routinely, bringing the total in 2020 to 12/15 (80%), versus 6/14 (43%) previously. Four sites (27%) now have adatabase of GCA patients (one in 2017). There was no major change insites having a standard protocol for steroid taper (n = 8 2017;n = 72020, 89% and 100% of whom respectively use BSR guidance), nor inthe number of patients routinely provided steroid cards (six in 2017;five in 2020). The three sites who do not report giving leaflets onsteroids routinely, all had a pathway. 8/15 (53%) reported COVID-19having an adverse effect upon services, including: reduced access todiagnostics (n = 7: TA US, biopsy, and PET-CT);delayed appointments(n = 4);delayed referrals (n = 3). The tertiary referral centre reported animprovement because access to tocilizumab was facilitated by arelaxation of rules by NHS England.ConclusionThe original audit and survey of current GCA practice in 2017highlighted areas for improvement for each site, and regionally. Sitescontributing to this re-survey report that the exercise stimulated themto improve their current care. The 2017 exercise showed a strongcorrelation between reported practice (survey) and actual practice(audit), leading us to have confidence that responses provided a truepicture of care. This work demonstrates the power of audit to driveimprovement, at a regional level.