Table 1

NICE quality standards for early inflammatory arthritis6

NumberQuality standards
1People with suspected persistent synovitis affecting the small joints of the hands or feet, or more than one joint, are referred to a rheumatology service within 3 working days of presentation.
2People with suspected persistent synovitis are assessed in a rheumatology service within 3 weeks of referral.
3People with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis are offered short-term glucocorticoids and a combination of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs by a rheumatology service within 6 weeks of referral.
4People with rheumatoid arthritis are offered educational and self-management activities within 1 month of diagnosis.
5People who have active rheumatoid arthritis are offered monthly treatment escalation until the disease is controlled to an agreed low disease activity target.
6People with rheumatoid arthritis and disease flares or possible drug-related side effects receive advice within 1 working day of contacting the rheumatology service.
7People with rheumatoid arthritis have a comprehensive annual review that is coordinated by the rheumatology service.
  • Guidance was updated in 2020 resulting in some changes to these quality standards.

  • NICE, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.