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As the UK population ages and the number of people living with multiple long-term conditions grow, the burden of MSK conditions is set to increase. The last six years alone have seen an increase of nearly 300% in hip and knee replacements, for instance. Yet MSK conditions remain chronically under-prioritised in the NHS.

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Musculoskeletal and Arthritis News

Consultation on biologic DMARDS in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

NICE released the Appraisal Consultation Document (ACD) on biologic DMARDS used in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) on 19th June. The main recommendation of the ACD supports the current position that the drugs remain available only to those most severely affected. Although this is welcomed a joint statement by NRAS, BSR and Arthritis Care highlights the missed opportunity to improve patient care and extend the use of such drugs for people with moderate disease.

Guest Blog: Empowering our members to take action through self-management

by Shantel Irwin, CEO Arthritis Action Corks were flying on June 18th 2015 for me and my team at Arthritis Action as we officially launched with our new name, new look and new direction. The last 12 months have been transformational for our charity. After more than a year of research, review, redesign and reform, Arthritis Action finally relaunched at The King’s Fund to an audience of more than 100 members and guests from across the musculoskeletal health sector. We were delighted to welcome so many friends and colleagues at our event, which gave us the chance to outline our rationale for change, ...

Arthritis Research UK MSK-HQ Conference

Arthritis Research UK hosted the ‘MSK-HQ Conference’ in London on 28 May 2015. The event was in two parts - in the morning, Arthritis Research UK hosted the second meeting of the National Musculoskeletal Health Data Group. This group, chaired by Dr Benjamin Ellis, our senior clinical policy advisor, meets every six months to discuss the community’s projects aiming to improve the extent and quality musculoskeletal data nationally, regionally, and locally. David Lawrence from PHAST, a public health consultancy, updated the group on the progress they have made in developing a set of nationally recognised indicators which the ...

New Chief Medical Advisor to NRAS

Professor Peter Taylor appointed as new Chief Medical Advisor to NRAS Prof. Peter Taylor MA, PhD, FRCP, FRCPE Norman Collisson Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, is to take over from Prof. David G.I. Scott, who stands down after 8 years of loyal service to NRAS, as Chief Medical Advisor. Prof. David G.I. Scott has supported the charity brilliantly in so many ways over the years and will continue to support NRAS as medical patron. Find out more from the NRAS news page. RA Awareness Week 2015 Following last week's RA Awareness Week we just wanted to get in touch and thank everyone ...

NICE publication of Osteoarthritis quality standards

NICE published the NICE quality standard for Osteoarthritis on the 11th June 2015. This quality standard covers the assessment and management of OA in adults (18 and over). It does not cover replacement of hip, knee or shoulder joints as these will be covered in a future NICE guideline and quality standard.

Richmond Group policy project

Arthritis Research UK has entered into a new policy project with a key group of long term conditions charities known as the Richmond Group of Charities. This group (which includes Macmillan Cancer Support, Age UK, British Heart Foundation and Stroke Association) has been working in partnership for a number of years on issues such as prevention, coordinated care and ensuring that patients are engaged in decisions about their care. Arthritis Research UK is keen to ensure that the needs of people living with arthritis are included in their thinking and are delighted to be working on a new policy ...

An Introduction to Musculoskeletal Service Redesign in Ealing

Dr Ian Bernstein and Stephanie Griffiths answer questions on the nationally acclaimed musculoskeletal service in Ealing and how it was implemented. The redesign started about 20 years ago, when all musculoskeletal services were provided in secondary care. There was no GP access to physiotherapy; patients would be referred to a consultant and could be waiting for up to a year before seeing a physiotherapist. In the 1990s, under GP fundholding, a small number of GP practices in Ealing bought physiotherapy services. Following the demise of fundholding, a community musculoskeletal service was set up using the same pot of money, but it ...

Arthritis Research UK Parliamentary Reception

Arthritis Research UK held their first parliamentary reception of the new Parliament on 10th June 2015. Over 60 MPs showed their support for people living with arthritis by agreeing to be Arthritis Champions. This is the most MPs we have ever had at one of our parliamentary events. MPs from across the UK and from all major parties came along to pledge their support to prevent and cure arthritis, and transform the services available to people with musculoskeletal conditions. The reception was hosted by Huw Irranca-Davies, MP for Ogmore in South Wales, who became our first Arthritis Champion back in October. ...

Educationalist Board Vacancies & PSA Consultation

PSA education and training standards consultation - The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) commissioned a review of education and training Standard 9 of the Standards for Accredited Registers. The PSA agreed that education and training standards should be made explicit to the public and is proposing a change of wording to make this requirement clear and to amend the assessment process. The BAcC believes this does not go far enough, and that it should explicitly state that the standards should meet international benchmarks, for example at the degree level recommended for acupuncture by the World Health Organisation (WHO). See the PSA ...

PCR Annual Conference 2015

The annual PCR Conference in York features a highly respected hands-on, friendly educational conference for GPSIs in MSK and Rheumatology where you can learn from, build contacts and mix with your peers. This year's theme is "Lifestyle Changes + Impact on MSK & Rheumatology Outcomes". Thursday, 19th of November 2015 (noon start) until Saturday, 21st of November 2015 (1pm finish) Download the conference programme and application form (PDF document), or read more details from the PCR Society events page.

Guest Blog: From desk to home caring – backs are a problem!

by Stuart Blackman, CEO of BackCare I am really enjoying working with BackCare as the new Chief Executive. We are at the cusp of a new phase of development of the charity. BackCare is the UK’s national back pain charity, founded 1968 – our mission is to turn the tide on back pain, the world’s leading cause of human disability. We do this through research, education and outreach initiatives. Our new website is now the primary platform through which we can reach out to our key stakeholders: patients, clinicians, researchers, educators and our corporate supporters. We have used this time to re-envision ...

Parliamentary Reception & MSK Symposium

Parliamentary reception: Arthritis Research UK is holding a reception in Parliament on 10 June 2015 (13:00-15:00, Dining Room A). It would be great to have as many people from the musculoskeletal sector there as possible, and you are all welcome to attend. Please contact Michael at m.watson@arthritisresearchuk.org if you are able to make it. Working with musculoskeletal conditions: We are holding a symposium ‘Working with musculoskeletal conditions’ on 16 June 2015. It will bring together people with musculoskeletal conditions, policy leads, members of the academic community and employers to discuss current initiatives and identify opportunities for action. For further information contact ...

'Vanguard' project now open to entire acute sector

NHS England has expanded the scope of its ‘vanguard’ project to trial new care models, to encompass the viability of the entire acute sector. New vanguard stream could apply to any acute trust - not just smaller hospitals Project aims to develop nationally replicable hospital chain models Timescale to select new vanguard cohort is extended Chief executive Simon Stevens launched the fourth and final part of the vanguard yesterday in a speech at the King’s Fund. The central authority – working alongside five other national arm’s length bodies – has invited expressions of interest ...

Stevens launches hospital chains 'vanguard' - NHS England

NHS England will ‘test new ways’ of sustaining smaller hospitals, including ‘chains’ running acute services, in its latest vanguard programme launched today by Simon Stevens. The NHS England chief executive said Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS England would be taking forward the work on hospital chains produced by Sir David Dalton last year. This will include looking at: how trusts can create buddying arrangements across medical specialties rather than whole organisations; how hospitals can share back office functions; and the increased use of satellite sites. He cited the eye clinic at Dartford and Gravesham Trust run by ...

Fibromyalgia Association UK and FibroAction to Merge

The trustees of FibroAction and FMA UK are proud to announce the merger of the two organisations into a new entity, Fibromyalgia Action UK, as of 1st July this year. It will combine both charities’ expertise, experience and resources to better serve people affected by fibromyalgia. Both charities have the same mission and aims; both provide similar services benefiting the same group of people nationally, and working as one organisation will enhance this work. The merger will take place on the 1st of July 2015 and the new organisation will be called Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMA UK). The name ...

Musculoskeletal Science MSc from UCL and the RNOH

This UCL MSc, delivered at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) covers a broad spectrum of musculoskeletal topics, including basic science and clinical aspects of musculoskeletal disease. The multidisciplinary programme emphasises the four major musculoskeletal areas as identified by the Bone and Joint Decade – arthritis, osteoporosis, trauma and spinal disorders, as well as transferable skills and research methodology. The MSc is available either on-site at the RNOH or via distance learning for students who wish to study at home - from anywhere in the UK or the world. Read more about the programme, and apply at: Musc Sci ARMA or email muscsci@ucl.ac.uk.

Exercising with Lupus & Lupus Info Day Videos

To mark World Lupus Day on May 10th 2015, LUPUS UK launched a new video called, ‘Exercising with Lupus’. The video, featuring fitness presenter and lupus patient, Nana Akua (AKA LadyXsize), demonstrates a variety of gentle exercises and a five-minute stretch workout that are suitable for many people with lupus to do within their own home. Hopefully the video will aid many lupus patients in introducing some light exercise to their lifestyle and they will notice benefits to their wellbeing as a result. The video can be watched on the Lupus diet and exercise page of LUPUS UK website. Lupus ...

European Parliament & Call to Action

The Scleroderma Society will be hosting an event at European Parliament on the 30th June 2015 to tackle inequity of care and treatment for scleroderma patients across Europe. The event will run from 9:30am until 12:00 with patients, scleroderma specialists and hopefully key decision makers speaking at the event. If you are interested in attending please contact Amy Baker. If you are unable to attend please sign our Call to Action.

BSR's State of Play and Position Statements

BSR have recently published The State of Play report. The State of Play in UK Rheumatology report captures for the first time the major challenges currently facing rheumatology services and the patients they serve, setting out a range of measures to address these at a national and local level. The key findings of the survey include: 8 out of 10 respondents felt that rheumatology services were no better now than in 2010 when there was a national audit highlighting deficiencies two-thirds rated their relationship with primary care colleagues as five out of ten or below, citing poor communication and lack of GP condition awareness ...

NHS England Business Plan 2015/16

Building the NHS of the Five Year Forward View NHS England has published its NHS business plan, summarising the headline goals and priorities for the year ahead. The plan sets out ten priorities to improve quality and access to services for patients, drive better value for money and to build the foundations for the future health and care system.

Bright One

Bright One is a volunteer run communications agency for the third sector and Lynn Levy, our outgoing project co-ordinator, works as partnerships manager for this special organisation. Bright One’s vision is that all charities and not for profit organisations, even the small ones, should have access to quality communications. Its team of volunteers can help with strategy, branding, digital and PR at little or no cost and unlike other agencies, all Bright One profits are reinvested to develop volunteers’ skillsets. Bright One provides opportunities in all shapes and sizes, allowing charities to be involved, regardless of capacity ...

Guest Blog: Fracture Liaison Services

By Anne Thurston, Health Sector Relations Manager, National Osteoporosis Society This week, 18 months’ worth of furious activity finally came together in the launch of our Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) resources. This makes me so happy that I can’t think of it without doing a happy dance in my head! Let’s start at the beginning. A Fracture Liaison Service is simply a dedicated co-ordinator whose sole purpose it is to find people who are aged over 50 years and have broken a bone. The FLS co-ordinator will check their bone health and help them get the interventions they need to minimise their ...

North Wales ARMA Signposting

Over the last two years, North Wales ARMA Network Group (NWARMA) has developed a meaningful working relationship with the North Wales Betsi Cadwaladwr University Health Board (BCUHB). This relationship was formalised in the ground-breaking ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ launched on 31st July 2014. In the next few weeks a ‘Signposting’ initiative will also be launched. This will include the distribution of posters to GP Surgeries, NHS outpatient Clinics and other relevant agencies. Details will be highlighted here on the ARMA UK website as soon as the documentation has been formally released for circulation. Patients receiving an appointment letter for an MSK-orientated NHS clinic in ...

EDS International Symposium 2016

EDS UK and the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation, in alliance with the EDS consortium in Ghent and medical professionals internationally, are very proud to announce an EDS International Symposium in New York City during May 2016. The primary goal is to reclassify the diagnostic criteria for all the types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The symposium is also purposed with producing guidelines for medical professionals to use once a diagnosis has been reached as a universal guide for management. We are excited to be working on a project that will change the lives of those with EDS. Updated diagnostic criteria, published in medical ...

Health Education England’s 15-year Strategic Framework

Health Education England’s Open Strategic Framework Document (‘Framework 15’) builds upon the Strategic Intent Document which HEE published in February 2013 and the feedback to that and the refresh published in July 2013. Framework 15 is intended to act as a reference point for the system and provide the conceptual framework for how HEE approaches problems and identifies solutions, ensuring the focus remains on the patient. Read more here.

National Voices’ Wellbeing Our Way programme

An invitation to POW WOWs (shared learning workshops) National Voices’ Wellbeing Our Way programme is about enabling people to manage their health in the ways that matter to them. It is supported by The Health Foundation, an independent charity working to improve the quality of healthcare in the UK. Wellbeing Our Way works through community and voluntary organisations. Our POW WOWs are a great opportunity for shared learning between staff and volunteers in organisations who are working directly with people who use services to empower them to live well with their conditions or disabilities; as well as those who are developing ...

New resource: Hip Fracture Care booklet

ARMA has just added to its Resources page a booklet produced by the National Hip Fracture Database. The NHFD's “My Hip Fracture Care: 12 Questions to ask” is a helpful guide to support patients undergoing hip fracture treatment. It’s a resource for patients, their families and carers produced in association with the NOS, RCS, BOA, BGS, and Age UK.

A Fair Assessment of Musculoskeletal Conditions

Last month Arthritis Research UK published a report making a series of recommendations designed to improve the recognition of conditions such as osteoarthritis and back pain in assessments. It is called A Fair Assessment? Musculoskeletal Conditions – The need for local prioritisation’. The report sets out the results of research into the Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWS) of the 152 local authorities that have a statutory duty to publish them, along with any supporting documents. In particular, we looked for the number and context of mentions of: Generic mentions of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions/diseases Osteoarthritis Back/back pain Fragility fractures, bone ...

Guest Blog: Getting it Right First Time

by Mike Kimmons CB, Chief Executive, British Orthopaedic Association On Monday 16 March, the BOA launched the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) report. GIRFT was commissioned in 2013 by the Secretary of State for Health and NHS England and published with their agreement. Evidence-based and solutions-oriented, the GIRFT team used multiple sources to compile a unique data set for each NHS Hospital Trust in England that provides elective orthopaedic services and constructed comparative performance dashboards with the objective of benchmarking good practice. It also includes an important stocktake of rehabilitation services conducted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy ...

Guest Blog: The Need for Competency-Based Commissioning

by Matthew Bennett, President, British Chiropractic Association As we all know back pain is the single biggest cause of disability in the UK according to the Global Burden of Disease Report. Despite this huge cost both in human and financial terms, care can often appear to be disjointed. In 2009 NICE published guidelines on the Management of persistent non-specific low back pain but many regions in the UK still struggle to implement the guidance and with many different providers being involved in the management of back pain an integrated approach is elusive. Due to the episodic nature of much low back ...


ARMA is the umbrella body providing a collective voice for the arthritis and musculoskeletal community in the UK.

Together, ARMA and its member organisations work to improve quality of life for all those living with musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders in the UK.

We aim to foster co-operation between charities and professional organisations, working to enhance understanding and mutual support between individuals and organisational bodies.