The rheumatology Tier 2 service in Oldham was implemented to see patients in a primary care setting for their initial assessment. They were treated and discharged within the service, or referred on to secondary care in order to limit inappropriate attendance in secondary care and fast-track patients with inflammatory disease to the rheumatology consultant. The aim of this study was to evaluate patients’ and general practitioners’ (GPs’) views about the transfer of rheumatological services from secondary to primary care. Patients and GPs were from a single primary care trust in Oldham, north west England. A thematic analysis of interview data was taken, and findings showed high patient satisfaction with the service, favouring the primary care environment to a hospital setting. GPs reported on cost-effectiveness of the service and better management of the disease. The Tier 2 service has the potential to set a new direction for multiagency care within a primary care setting.
Sarah Critchley , Elaine Ball