Birmingham centre for rare disease beats patient targets

12th Aug 2013

A centre of excellence in Birmingham which treats one of the rarest diseases in the UK has topped off a summer of success by exceeding its patient targets – months ahead of schedule.

The Birmingham Behçet’s Syndrome National Centre of Excellence, based at City Hospital, is one of only three such centres in the country. The centre treats people with Behçet’s syndrome, a rare condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels, mouth and genital ulcers and eye inflammation. The disorder may also cause various types of skin lesions, arthritis, bowel inflammation and meningitis, and it is estimated that there are only around 600 people with the syndrome in the UK.

The centre was funded following a successful bid from the Behçet’s Syndrome Society, which set a target of 40 referrals a year as part of the contract since the centre opened in November 2012. However, the centre has already far exceeded this target, with 71 patients already referred since then.

Debbie Mitton, Lead Nurse and Manager at the centre, said: “To have already almost doubled the target of patients, three quarters of the way through the year, is fantastic, especially since Behçet’s syndrome is so rare. As well as patients from all over the West Midlands, we are also treating people from further afield, including Gloucester, Bristol, Leicester, Nottingham and Oxford. Not only are we treating patients from all over the UK, but we are also expecting a private patient from Uruguay, who heard about us on the web.”

This tops a fantastic summer of success for the centre, which hosted a study day in July, gained coverage in national magazines and had dedicated pages on a new website for the UK centres of excellence.

Debbie added: “We had more than 80 people from across the country attend our study day, and they all gave excellent feedback. We have been working hard to spread the message about the symptoms of Behçet’s syndrome and how patients can be treated here, and we are now looking to run workshops for nurses and allied health professionals.”

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