Musculoskeletal Services

Early arthritis

This page gives you information about early arthritis, and the importance of treating the condition as early as possible.

What we do

More and more evidence indicates the importance of diagnosing and treating rheumatoid arthritis - and other forms of inflammatory arthritis - at the earliest possible stage to improve outcomes for patients.

Our early arthritis clinic recognises this, and has been designed to:

  • rapidly assess patients with a new-onset, suspected inflammatory arthritis. We aim to see patients within two weeks of being referred to us.
  • use the latest approaches to diagnose different kinds of arthritis. For example, all patients undergo an ultrasound scan as part of their assessment.
  • speed up decision-making by consultants, minimising delays between the start of symptoms and treatment. Patients are seen by a consultant one week after an initial “screening” visit, when the results of initial investigations are all to hand and treatment can be started efficiently.
  • give all patients the chance to participate in our active early arthritis research programme. This will help develop increasingly reliable tools for diagnosing and treating arthritis patients in the future.

Nurse-led review clinic

For patients who are offered specific treatments for inflammatory arthritis at the early arthritis clinic, we offer a monthly, nurse-led review clinic.

The clinic is designed to ensure that patients have a point of contact to discuss their progress. It also gives patients the chance to ask any questions they may have about their new diagnosis and its treatment.

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