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Service closure: Thursday 19th September 2019 18th Sep 19

**IMPORTANT INFORMATION** We are closed tomorrow Thursday 19th September 2019 for our annual Team Build Away Day. If you have an urgent medical problem you must contact your GP surgery where information on emergency services such as your nearest Walk in centre/Accident and Emergency department can be provided. Sorry for any inconvenience but we will be back as normal on Friday.

2019 HSJ Award Nomination 27th Aug 19

‘Rightpath’ has been shortlisted out of hundreds of applications for the Community or Primary Care Service Redesign Initiative at this year’s HSJ Awards, which recognise outstanding contribution to healthcare. The ‘Rightpath’ initiative, developed in collaboration with South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University, was developed in response to growing pressures on the specialist services related to children and young people. There were many children who had issues like knocked knees and flat feet who were waiting a long time to be seen in a central specialist centre. This had a knock-on effect on the waiting times for others who had more serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, neurodisability or cancer. ‘Rightpath’ supports allied health professionals with paediatric expertise to promptly identify GP referrals and triage them to the appropriate specialist paediatric service or to Rightpath community-based physiotherapy or podiatry. This service has already been awarded a BSR Best Practice model award.

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Telephone Fault 15th Aug 19

We are currently experiencing an ongoing technical issue with our telephone system which our IT services are looking into. We thank you for your patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Oldham doctor develops new blood test to help arthritis patients. 25th Jul 19

Article featuring Pennine MSK’s Dr Bluett’s research from the Oldham Times.  Date published: 20 June 2019  

An Oldham based doctor, James Bluett, has developed a new blood test which could help local rheumatoid arthritis patients to better manage their illness by keeping to their medication regimes.

Methotrexate is the most commonly prescribed drug for the 400,000 people in the UK suffering from this autoimmune disease. Around 40% of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients do not take the drug as prescribed and, currently, clinical staff have no way of knowing whether a patient is taking their medication as advised.

Thirty-eight year old, Dr Bluett practises at the borough’s Pennine MSK Partnership which provides care for patients in orthopaedics, rheumatology and chronic pain. He is also a researcher for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and a Clinical Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester. The new test, developed, refined and assessed over 4 years, measures the methotrexate levels in a patient’s blood over the previous seven days. The final research results from 138 RA patients showed that the test has a 95% sensitivity in detecting whether someone took their methotrexate in the preceding week. The initial evaluation of the blood test’s effectiveness was carried out in the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility with 20 patients from the North West. Dr Bluett said, “Patients may not take their methotrexate as prescribed for several reasons, Methotrexate is a weekly treatment, taken over a long period and can have side effects. Non-adherence means the drug won’t work as effectively and risks a patient’s condition worsening. Our new marker will enable doctors to start supportive conversations with patients about the difficulties they may be experiencing with the medication and how to resolve them.” Dr Bluett was appointed as a consultant at the specialist musculoskeletal service, on New Radcliffe Street, in April 2018.

The service, commissioned by NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, receives nearly 15,000 new referrals a year, mainly from local GPs and provides long term support for nearly 1,500 people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr Bluett’s research paper was published this month in the world’s leading rheumatology journal-the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. He said, “We need to see whether RA patients’ adherence improves when they receive feedback on their methotrexate levels. So, the next step will be a feasibility study to assess how we can gauge this in a clinical trial.

I hope this further work validates our approach which could then, after appropriate regulatory approval, be incorporated into routine clinical practice. I want to ensure the best outcomes for RA patients.”

Telephone Fault 25th Jun 19

☎️**TELEPHONE FAULT**☎️We are currently having some issues with the telephones today, this problem has been reported and is being looked into. However, in the meantime if you are having difficulty getting through to us please keep trying as this problem is intermittent. Thank you for your patience, we apologise for any inconvenience caused