Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust

Manchester Royal Infirmary – Educational coffee mornings


  • - 510 minutes of clinical time saved each week
  • - Five times as many patients come into contact with the MDT in 1/3 of the time
  • - 100% of patients surveyed said they would recommend the service to other newly diagnosed people

The Manchester Royal Infirmary site of Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust has developed educational social events. The purpose is to:
  • - Move toward compliance with the NICE guidelines:   (“people with RA who wish to know more about their disease and its management should be offered the opportunity to take part in existing educational activities” and “people with RA should have access to a multidisciplinary team”)   
  • - Meet patient requests for an opportunity to discuss their experiences with other patients, reduce non-attendance at educational appointments and involve family, friends and carers in the process   
  • - Use the time of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) - a specialist nurse, physiotherapist, and occupational therapist - more effectively for education  
  • - Improve the patient experience through developing knowledge and understanding of the condition while maximising staff resources. Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) developed informal coffee mornings in a classroom setting, using a combination of presentations from members of the MDT and patient participation

Download a printable pdf of the Manchester Royal Infirmary case study

The challenge

The service felt that patients who are newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis could benefit from improving their understanding of their condition, but time constraints meant that only a few people could be seen during the allocated half-day session.

Service performance and outcomes

Enabling patients to meet the service as a group has proven to be an efficient way of delivering educational messages and also engaging patients in the service.

During a coffee morning up to twenty patients will be in attendance, interacting not only with the team but also with each other. Previously, during the same time slot, only four patients would have been able to access the team, and in each case the contact would have been as an individual, with no contact with other patients (apart from opportunistically while waiting for their appointments).

Patient focus and satisfaction

  • - The educational coffee mornings have proven very popular and help inimproving patients’ understanding of their conditions
  • - The development allows patients to self refer to additional services egacupuncture, hydrotherapy and podiatry. This empowers patients
  • - The cohort of patients may well be under the care of the service for years and in some cases decades, so investing in patient education at an early stage of their illness can:
  •           - Empower patients, enabling them to make better, more informed decisions about their health
  •           - Help strengthen the relationship between the rheumatology team and the patients

Patient satisfaction levels have improved

  • - When asked to score the sessions on a scale of 0 – 5 respondents mean score has been 4.4
  • - When asked if the sessions were informative the mean score was 4.5
  • - When asked if they would recommend the sessions to someone newly diagnosed, 100% said yes

Financial performance and outcomes

The educational sessions are a cost-effective method of putting the patients in touch with the MDT.

  • - There were no significant set up costs - just a small amount of staff time in initial planning and organising
  • - The staff costs involved in delivering the sessions have been calculated at just £114 per coffee morning, or just under £6 per patient
  • - Previously patients spending thirty minutes with each of three clinicians meant that in total twenty patients would have spent ten hours in clinic.The new sessions therefore save eight and a half hours of clinic time - more than one day per week of clinical time

Commissioning priorities

The Manchester Royal Infirmary educational coffee mornings are an example of commissioning best practice in rheumatology and meet a number of the priorities for commissioners as outlined by the King’s Fund in 2013:

  • - Active support for self-management – patients are given advice and education, and actively engaged in understanding their condition
  • - Care co-ordination – ease of contact and open dialogue with the MDT helps patients to access appropriate services quickly and easily
  • - Medicines management – medication compliance is achieved through on-going education at the coffee mornings

Sponsorship statement

This best practice case study project has been sponsored by UCB and supported by a medical education grant from Pfizer.
UCB and Pfizer have not had any influence over content: editorial control remained with the British Society of Rheumatology.

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We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of our sponsors, which enabled the case study project to take place.