News archive

3rd June 2019

COVID-19 News Update

Updated 18 June 2020

Helping patient research during the COVID-19 pandemic

There are currently a number of studies taking part in the UK and around the world looking at the impact of COVID-19 in patients affected by rheumatic conditions. BRITSpA has been asked to help disseminate this information to axSpA patients attending their rheumatology services.


The CORE-UK study is being done at Kings College London. The study is looking at the experiences of people with arthritis who have contracted COVID-19. It is hoped this study will help to determine the risk of infection for people with rheumatic conditions.




This study is aimed at people living with rheumatic diseases across Europe who are experiencing confinement due to COVID-19. The aim of the REUMAVID study is to describe the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the evolution of the disease, support services, healthcare, the quality of life and the emotional well-being of people living with rheumatic diseases. The study is supported in the UK by NASS, NRAS and Arthritis Action.

Reumavid Study



The CONTAIN study, run from the University of Aberdeen, is revisiting the participants of the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register for Ankylosing Spondylitis (BSRBR-AS) to determine their:

  • Current health, and specifically how this has changed since they were previously surveyed;
  • Experience of and access to care; and
  • Perceived current and future care needs.

The study is supported by the British Society for Rheumatology, and Versus Arthritis.


Primary Care and Community Physiotherapy Clinics during COVID-19

BRITSpA member, Chris Martey, is a specialist Physiotherapist who, after moving from secondary care Rheumatology, now works in primary care as a first contact physiotherapist (FCP) and advanced Allied Health Professional with skills and expertise in assessment and management of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. Here, Chris shares his experience on how the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a new way of working.

If you would like to share your COVID experience, through work, re-structuring of services for your SpA patients, or even new hobbies you may have taken up, please contact




Updated 3 June 2020

It seems like a lifetime since we last touched base with the BRITSpA membership at the time of the lockdown last 22nd March. Since then, we have all tried to juggle keeping our services going whilst helping to support care delivery in the acute medical wards as the pandemic progresses. We continue to face challenges with ongoing uncertainties in relation to the COVID-19, and the risk to patient health.


As you know, the current advice by the government is that the risk to the general population in the UK remains high, yet lockdown rules are officially relaxed as per 1st June 2020 with new guidance on shielding just issued.


Future of axial SpA services

The National axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS) are currently conducting a survey among healthcare professionals. In July the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Axial Spondyloarthritis will be holding a meeting to discuss the future of axial SpA services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To start the conversation the views of health professionals around the UK are needed and will be presented to the APPG. Following discussion with a range of stakeholders a set of key recommendations will then be developed by the APPG. BRITSpA would like to encourage all members to help with this very important project. Please complete the survey here.


As you know, BSR continues to update their website, and have an excellent webinar programme that you can follow. More information here.


Keep well. Keep safe.




Updated 22 March 2020

It is with enormous regret that we have to advise the Cancellation of the 2020 BRITSpA Annual Scientific Meeting, due to take place on 16thand 17thSeptember at the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham and the inaugural Core Course ‘Essentials in Spondyloarthritis’ scheduled for 16thSeptember.


After careful monitoring of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, and with full understanding of the crucial role that you all play within your organisation and community together with the growing uncertainty about the duration of the current situation, our Board of Trustees and Executive Committee felt that a decision had to be made at this time.


We would like to give our thanks to all speakers and everyone who has contributed to the development of the excellent 2020 conference and course programmes. Unfortunately it is impossible at this stage to know when we will be able to reschedule both of these events, but please keep checking our website.


For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 (coronavirus) guidance please check the BSR website. We send our best wishes to all our colleagues at this difficult time.

30th May 2019

BRITSpA Travelling Fellowship

BRITSpA is happy to announce its new Travelling Fellowship. This is open to all members who wish to travel for a short stay to a rheumatology unit either in the UK or abroad to further their knowledge and best practice in any aspects related to the treatment of Spondyloarthritis. Each successful Fellowship will be awarded a maximum of £1,000.

Read more »

29th May 2019

NASS Aspiring to Excellence programme now closed for applications in 2019

Applications closed on 31 July 2019 for the first cohort of the NASS Aspiring to Excellence programme, a strategic partnership between NASS, BRITSpA and sponsoring companies AbbVie, Novartis and UCB. Thank you to all who have applied.

NASS will be inviting applications again in early 2020 for the second cohort so please do check the NASS website for further details.

For any questions and to hear more about the programme, please contact Anna McGilvray ( Programme Manager for Aspiring to Excellence.

15th May 2019

Aberdeen Intensive Course in Applied Epidemiology (ICAE): 2020 registration NOW OPEN

The 27th Intensive course in Applied Epidemiology Course will take place from Monday 2nd-Friday 6th March 2020 in Aberdeen, Over 4.5 days, this intensive course covers concepts and methods common to all chronic disease epidemiology. Delegates will learn principles of study design, the collection and analysis of data in epidemiological studies, and various methodological aspects of epidemiological study, including bias, confounding, validity and reliability.

Read more »

30th April 2019

BIR (British Institute of Radiology) Imaging Day

The BIR are currently organising an Imaging in Rheumatology study day on 11 June 2019, London. This comprehensive one-day event will cover common rheumatological imaging challenges faced by the specialist and non-specialist reporting radiologist. Engaging and informative talks will be delivered by specialists in the field with a wide range of topics covered including what the rheumatologist needs to know, spondyloarthropathy, joint based disease and current best practice. Further information can be found here.