News in brief: Exercise needs support in people with RA; Service delivers conservative management of OA; Evidence backs ‘grow your own’ rural medical workforce;


Exercise needs more support in people with RA

Physical activity is recommended by groups such as EULAR for all people with inflammatory arthritis, but new research shows that many people diagnosed with RA do not exercise or cut down on exercise when starting treatment.

Data from a cohort of 1468 people with early RA starting methotrexate showed that 28% were doing no exercise and 35% doing only low amounts of exercise at baseline. However, up to a quarter of participants who initially did some form of exercise reduced their physical activity in the first year and around 10% of participants stopped physical activity altogether. Increased disability and socioeconomic barriers predicted stopping physical activity, according to UK researchers, who said the findings showed the need to support starting and maintaining exercise. The study is published in Rheumatology.


Service delivers conservative management of OA

A knee and hip osteoarthritis service that promotes conservative approaches has proved successful in reducing pain and improving function for people with OA.

The Tweed Knee and Hip Arthritis Service (KAHAS) was set up in Northern NSW to advise OA patients not on an orthopaedic waiting list on how to conservatively manage their condition, offering standardised assessment, education, exercise, self-management strategies and regular review.

Local healthcare providers say an initial analysis has found that patients showed improvements in a suite of validated and standardised measures for pain and function, with improvements seen as early as one month, and sustained for six months. The findings are published in the Australian Journal of Primary Health.


Evidence backs ‘grow your own’ rural medical workforce

The first evidence has emerged to support a ‘grow your own’ rural workforce strategy of selecting doctors from and training them in specific rural regions that are underserviced by medical practitioners.

An analysis of data from more than 6627 doctors participating in the 2017 MABEL workforce survey showed that those who were selected and trained in a specific region of need were 17  more likely to continue working in the same rural region compared with doctors from cities and who spent only brief (< 12 week) duration in rural training.

The study also backed longer periods of rural training, showing that doctor were more than five times more likely to be retained in rural practice if they trained there for a year compared those who completed short periods of rural training.

“Reorienting medical training to selecting and training in specific rural regions where doctors are needed is likely to be an efficient means to correcting healthcare access inequalities,” the University of Queensland Rural Clinical School researchers said in the journal Human Resources for Health.

 

 

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