Why Claire wants to be a NASS champion:
In 2019 I was diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis (or axial SpA / AS) during an Acute flare that left me bed bound. The rheumatologist I saw reviewed an old MRI scan from 2 years previously, which revealed grade 3 sacroiliitis that wasn’t acted upon.
At that point I had experienced over 20 years of multiple joint pains and recurrent enthesitis, that as an athlete was often attributed to sporting injuries. The three GP’s I saw over the years reassured me my symptoms didn’t warrant referral, as my blood tests were ‘normal’.
Looking back, I can’t believe I missed the diagnosis in myself! I did have some knowledge of AxSpa but I was shocked at my own misunderstanding of several aspects of the condition & complete lack of awareness of others. On discussing my diagnosis with colleagues, I found I was most definitely not alone in this.
GP education in this area is relatively poor, unless a doctor has been lucky enough to do a rheumatology rotation earlier in their career, but this isn’t very common.
Being a GP with AxSpa gives me a very unique perspective for this programme and puts me in an excellent position to be a catalyst for at least some of the change that is so desperately needed to improve the lives of so many affected with and by AxSPa.
What Claire hopes to achieve from the programme:
“By being a part of this programme my aim is to increase knowledge of AxSpa in both GP’s and in GP trainees. I’d like to debunk the myths often associated with AxSpa and support and facilitate recognition of symptom trends in individual patients by utilising IT software.
Ultimately, I hope to continue my learning journey and with the other members of the programme, hope we can work collectively to drive forward a positive change and make steps to reduce time to diagnosis for those living with AxSPa.”