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Personal attributes as determinants of timely care in rheumatoid arthritis
  1. G H Esselens1,
  2. A De Brabander1,
  3. L Ovaere2,
  4. G De Brabanter2,
  5. P Moons3,
  6. R Westhovens1
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, University Hospitals KU Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2Patient Partners Program, Belgium
  3. 3Centre for Health Services and Nursing Research, KU Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to:
    MrsG Esselens
    Department of Rheumatology, University Hospitals KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium; greet.esselens{at}

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Recently, early intensive treatment has become important in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Evidence from clinical trials and from patient cohorts in daily practice has shown that early disease modifying antirheumatic drug treatment is mandatory to avoid damage and loss of function.1 Therefore, patients with suspicion of RA should be referred to a rheumatologist as soon as possible.

This has led to the development of “early arthritis clinics”.2 However, a diagnosis of early RA is difficult for general practitioners (GPs),3 sometimes leading to inappropriate referrals. A solution may be joint consultations of GPs and rheumatologists4 or specific training …

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