Clinical research trial drastically improves quality of life

9th Nov 2016

Two previously unsung heroes from the Rheumatology Department at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH), who were described by their patients as ‘understanding, encouraging, compassionate and down to earth’, were presented with an award by Prime Minster Theresa May in recognition for their excellent work in research and caring for patients who have Rheumatoid Arthritis.

 Clinical Nurse Specialist Alison Deeming and Professor Christopher Buckley have been recognised as Joint Healthcare Champions 2016 by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS). They were nominated by their patient Anne Austin, who wrote a heartfelt nomination which said: “I never thought my condition could be well managed until I was referred to see Professor Buckley.  Despite not living in the area, Professor Buckley accepted me as a newly diagnosed patient. He has an amazingly open and friendly manner which makes him so approachable. Thanks to him, I was put on the Birmingham Early Arthritis Clinic (BEACON) research project, which has helped me to get better.rheumatology-received-nrsa-awards-1

“It has been a long journey but, together with his team (both medically trained and clerical staff), Professor Buckley has got my disease under control.”

Speaking about her experience with Alison, Anne wrote: “I only see Alison Deeming when my disease is particularly tough, but she is a wonderful mentor and always at the end of the phone offering support, comfort, kindness and practical help.

“She offers advice and medical help when I am at my lowest and will organise steroid injections to help with my travelling.”

In her nomination, Anne also praised the whole department. She said: “I am on the day ward where I have nine monthly infusions of Rituximab. The whole ward feels like a family and it is always a pleasure (never a chore!) to attend appointments and consultations. They always put the patients’ needs first and they have such a wonderful sense of humour.”

Clinical Nurse Specialist Alison Deeming could not hide her happiness when she received the news. Alison said: “This recognition means a lot more when it specially comes from a patient. It’s nice to know that I’m making a difference.”

Professor Buckley added: “I am humbled for being nominated by our patient and recognised by the NRAS. It is wonderful encouragement for what we are doing here. In the Rheumatology department, we want to provide the best treatment to patients and we believe that research is one the keys to doing so. I am pleased to see that Ann has got better as a result of attending this clinical trial.”

Talking about the department’s future plans, Professor Buckley explained: “We would like to expand our services to Walsall as part of the Black Country Alliance partnership. We are also working closely with GPs in the region to provide our service to their clinics so that patients can receive their treatment closer to their home.”

Editor’s Note:

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) is celebrating the work of dedicated health professionals with its fifth Healthcare Champions Awards 2016. The awards celebrate the excellent work that healthcare professionals are doing across the UK and highlight good practice to an audience including parliamentarians, commissioners, clinicians, healthcare professionals and key decision makers.

The Rheumatology Department at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals has been recognised as a centre of excellence by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and Lupus UK. They have recently won BEACON awards, recognised by SWBH, for their innovative work in delivering clinical research and efforts in providing a unique ‘one stop, solution shop’ model of care with multidisciplinary input, which saw the waiting time reduced.

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