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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

Guest Blog: Musings from Primary Care

by Dr. Alan Nye, President Primary Care Rheumatology Society, Executive Director, Pennine MSK Partnership Ltd. This is my final month as President of the Primary Care Rheumatology Society and it’s been a very interesting 2 years for me. I apologise that this blog is England-centric, but England is the totality of my NHS experience and I cannot write about areas outside of my experience. I would like to cover, albeit briefly, three areas that over the past few years have become very dear to my heart: MSK training for primary care MSK networks and commissioning MSK services Shared decision-making   For a long time the lack ...

NRAS Comments on the ABPI report

Commenting on the report, Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive of NRAS said: “This is a heavy hitting report, which underlines the significant challenges to be addressed if we are to improve outcomes for all rheumatoid arthritis patients across England. In particular, to ensure the disease is properly prioritised at the local level, it is clear that the rheumatology community will need to work closely with local commissioners. Evidence from the audit of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments, produced by local authorities, makes for particularly grim reading and it is my sincere hope this report will act a catalyst to bring about change.” Download the ...

BSR Chief Exec Comments on ABPI Report

The British Society for Rheumatology's Chief Executive, Laura Guest, comments on ABPI's 'RAising the game: Translating national policy into local action for rheumatoid arthritis services.' This new report finds worrying lack of local prioritisation of rheumatoid arthritis services, despite its impact on patients and the economy.   Early Birds for Annual Conference The 'early bird' offer for the Rheumatology 2015 conference closes at the end of January. This will be a world-class conference run by the BSR, the UK's biggest rheumatology conference for all health professionals with an interest in musculoskeletal conditions. Registration is open.

NHS Alliance and RPS report on pharmacists

The NHS Alliance and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have produced a new report on pharmacists and the role that they could play in general practice. The report contains excerpts from a round table held with GPs, practice pharmacists and members of the public on 30 September this year, and explores the current role of pharmacists working within general practice, why this isn’t more widespread, what the barriers might be, and how they might be overcome. Click here to read more.

Arthritis Research UK MusculoSkeletal Health Questionnaire

Arthritis Research UK’s on-going partnership with NHS England to co-fund the piloting of a patient reported outcome measure (PROM) within the NHS has progressed into clinical testing. The name of the tool, which in its draft format was known as the M-PROM, has now changed to the ‘Arthritis Research UK MusculoSkeletal Health Questionnaire’, abbreviated as ‘MSK-HQ’. As people with musculoskeletal conditions are treated at inpatient, outpatient and community settings, the work will seek to understand how the MSK-HQ can be used in these settings, by people with different musculoskeletal conditions, and the value brought by using it. This phase of the ...

Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) Standards Consultation

The National Osteoporosis Society is leading an expert authoring group to develop the UK’s first Clinical Standards for Fracture Liaison Services in collaboration with the British Orthopaedic Association and British Geriatric Society. These Clinical Standards are now out for consultation and they would be delighted to hear your views on them. The consultation document and response form are available on the Charity’s website at: They would appreciate responses to be sent to by 12 January 2015. An FLS Implementation Toolkit has also been developed along with accredited FLS Practitioner Training. Please see the attached PDF for further details including links to FLS ...

The NASS 5-year strategy

The NASS Council of Management has now approved the 5-year strategy for NASS activities. Our plans are very much based on the surveys that were conducted in 2012 and 2013 of our members and people with AS. In addition to our usual activities, such as: Running our helpline Supporting our 90 branches Providing information and support via the website and publications Working alongside the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Supporting research …NASS will also be focussing on: Early diagnosis Patient empowerment & self-management Access to physiotherapy & exercise Awareness You can download a copy of the full strategy here.    

New BACC Partnerships

New career videos from BAAB The British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) has produced some new videos highlighting the value of acupuncture as a career. BAcC Partners NIHR The National Institute of Health Research is to be a non-commercial partner of the British Acupuncture Council. This means that BAcC grant recipients who are doing a project within the NHS will have access to NHS research support, essential training and priority for some of the various procedural hoops they have to jump through.   BAcC to be corporate member of RSM The BAcC has agreed to be a corporate member of the Royal Society of Medicine.  

MSK World Summit 2014

Bone and Joint Decade 2010 – 2020 Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health MSK World Summit 2014 The Royal College of Surgeons, London Related pages: Introduction to Conference & World Summit BJD National Action Networks World Conference Download Delegates’ Handbook Monday 13th October Our programme for Monday explored measures for improving care and delivering best practice, and examined the impact of work on musculoskeletal health. With keynote speeches about the impact of musculoskeletal conditions, we drew on experiences in the UK, Europe and worldwide. There was also a session on the role of research followed by the launch of our Call for Action, which coincided with the launch of Bone ...

BJD National Action Networks World Conference

Bone and Joint Decade 2010 – 2020 Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health World Conference 2014 The Royal College of Surgeons, London Related pages: Introduction to BJD Conference & World Summit MSK World Summit, 13th Oct 2014 Download Delegates' Handbook Sunday 12th October Our programme for Sunday was designed to enhance the activities of our National Action Networks, providing an opportunity to share the successful collaborations and campaigns of our local networks and of other major stakeholder organisations, and to learn about the challenges that others have faced. The Bone and Joint Decade: an update - Prof Tony Woolf Network Activities - 8 presentations Global Activities - 6 short presentations & discussions Call for ...

Guest Blog: Care planning and musculoskeletal conditions

by Laura Boothman, Policy Manager at Arthritis Research UK Planning is indispensable in many areas of life – we use it to manage projects, finances and time. Identifying goals, setting actions and discussing and sharing them with others can make us more likely to stick to our plans and achieve the outcomes we want. When it comes to planning to support our health, however, there is room for improvement; according to the latest survey data only 3% of general practice patients currently say they have a written plan. From a policy perspective, it’s recognised that care planning, and other forms of self-management, ...

I’m Still Me: a narrative for coordinated support for older people

The I’m Still Me document, developed by older people working with National Voices, UCLPartners and Age UK, sets out how coordinated – or integrated – care and support looks and feels to older people, written from their point of view. “This new Narrative provides a framework to understand what matters most to older people, and how services can be designed around their individual needs. If we can get this right it will help to sustain the health, wellbeing and quality of life for everyone, regardless of age.” Read more on the National Voices website.

BAcC at NICE Board and ETCMA

In November, the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) was at a NICE Board meeting raising concerns about their evidence processes. In December, the BAcC will be at a forum in Korea receiving comments on its advocacy toolkit for its European regional organisation, ETCMA. The British Acupuncture Accreditation Board have recently refreshed their website at, including new videos on becoming an Acupuncturist. The BAcC will be at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Integrated Care in 10th December on "CAM in Universities".

FSEM moves to manage Osteoarthritis

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) UK recognises the importance of movement and exercise when it comes to managing Osteoarthritis. Evidence overall suggests that exercise is good for healthy joints. The FSEM has produced a ten-point guide to Exercise and Osteoarthritis, including key points on exercise prescription for health professionals. Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease affecting 8.75 million people in the UK[i], and more research is needed to fully understand the effects of exercise on Osteoarthritis.    

AS it is – next steps launched

Following on from the launch of the ‘AS it is’ campaign in 2013, where NASS successfully campaigned for Clinical Guidelines for Spondyloarthritis, NASS is now calling on NHS England to provide better access to physiotherapy for people with AS, access to an occupational therapist and help to stay in work where possible. On 18 November, NASS was delighted to attend a reception at the Houses of Parliament. The event was hosted by Huw Irranca-Davies MP. Read more about the next steps in the campaign from the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society website.    

Launch of Edgar Stene Prize Competition 2015

On behalf of Diana Skingle, Chair of the EULAR Standing Committee of People with Arthritis/Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) and Marios Kouloumas, EULAR Vice President, representing PARE, as well as of the Edgar Stene Prize Jury, EULAR are delighted to announce a call for entries for the Edgar Stene Prize 2015! The title for this year’s submissions is: ‘Taking Control of my life, working together with health professionals to achieve my personal goals.’ As in the previous years, we will continue to accept the national winning essays in their native language to the EULAR secretariat and we will take care of translating them into ...

Pain Toolkit and Self-Management in the Community

At a recent presentation by Peter Moore aimed at assisting clinicians in helping people to live with persistent pain, he presented his Pain Toolkit, a simple information booklet that provides handy tips and skills designed to support people living with the condition. Peter has lived with persistent pain since the early 1990s, but in 1994 he successfully turned his life around and now presents to patient groups and healthcare practitioners in the UK and EU on the subject of managing persistent pain. He is currently petitioning the government to encourage NHS Primary Care & Social Care to provide more pain self-management in ...

New Arthritis Research UK report: Care planning and musculoskeletal health

Arthritis Research UK has launched a new report on care planning and the impact it could have on people living with musculoskeletal conditions in the UK. Many people live with the painful and fluctuating symptoms of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions for decades. Musculoskeletal health is an important contributor to overall health and wellbeing, and symptoms including limited mobility and pain exacerbate the impact of other long-term conditions. Care planning can enable people to self-manage their condition, and to identify actions they can take to improve their own health. Despite the NHS commitment to offer everybody with a long-term condition a personalised care ...

The RCN and BSR Joint Rheumatology Conference

Ideal for the whole rheumatology team 24 - 25 February 2015, Birmingham This event is ideal opportunity for the multi-disciplinary rheumatology team, including nurse specialists, who are interested in leading the way in rheumatology and improving patient care. The one and a half day conference will host leading experts in the field who will discuss topics such as shared decision making, biological updates and commissioning. Book your place here.

Second anniversary of EULAR PARE e-Breakthrough

With this 2nd anniversary edition of the e-Breakthrough newsletter, EULAR would like to thank all those who have contributed to make this issue and all the past ones an interesting and inspiring source of information. We hope that you will enjoy reading Issue 7. If you might like to feature your own campaign or activities in e-Breakthrough, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Birte Glüsing at the EULAR Secretariat. Happy reading and we look forward to seeing many of you soon in Zagreb!

NHS England's scorecard Denies Access to Treatment for Ultra Rare Diseases

This campaign comes from the Society for Mucopolysaccharide Diseases, a voluntary support group and advocacy charity which represents children and adults in the UK suffering from Mucopolysaccharide and Related Lysosomal Storage Diseases. Mucopolysaccharidosis is an enzyme disorder which affects a child's ability to build bone, cartilage, tendons, corneas, skin and connective tissue. The MPS Society is encouraging people to sign a petition to government about funding for rare conditions. The campaign aims to reinstate the Highly Specialised Services and ultra orphan drug appraisal process for children and adults with ultra-rare diseases that NHS England dismantled on 1 April 2013. Read more about the ...

Guest Blog - Back pain and the hidden opportunity of public health

by Dr Adam Al-Kashi, Head of Research & Education, BackCare In his 1985 paper – Sick Individuals and Sick Populations (1) – epidemiologist, Professor Geoffrey Rose rendered a crucial insight, “The more widespread a particular cause, the less it explains the distribution of cases. The hardest cause to identify is the one that is universally present”. Despite decades of evidence, policy and best intention, a musculoskeletal health crisis has emerged and escalated to the point of now warranting its very own world summit. Earlier this month, we witnessed the inaugural MSK World Summit and the unveiling of a public health agenda ...

New Resource from the College of Occupational Therapists

We've just added to ARMA's new Working with Arthritis & MSK Resouces page. The Working for Health - Occupational therapy and how it can benefit your organisation document describes how Occupation is fundamental to the occupational therapy profession. Occupational therapists not only work for health and social care services across the UK, they also work within occupational health teams, Access to Work and Pathways to Work schemes, as independent practitioners, and in voluntary and private sector organisations. Therefore it is not unreasonable to see occupational therapists working across all sectors delivering vocational rehabilitation to help people maximise their employment opportunities. Click here to ...

Evidence into Action & Workplace Wellbeing Charter

In parallel with the NHS’s Forward View document, Public Health England (PHE) has published its own list of health priorities: From Evidence into Action: Opportunities to Protect and Improve the Nation’s Health, setting out the PHE’s seven key priorities where it believes it can make a significant difference over the coming five to ten years. The seven priorities are: Tackling obesity Reducing smoking Reducing harmful drinking Ensuring every child has the best start in life Reducing dementia risk Tackling antimicrobial resistance Reducing tuberculosis The full From Evidence into Action paper can be accessed here. It acknowledges that the health system cannot maintain the status quo and that a sustainable health service is one that helps ...

The NHS Five Year Forward View

The NHS Five Year Forward View, published last week, is an all-encompassing document that examines all areas of the health system. It makes several observations and recommendations specifically regarding employment and workplace health, beginning with the observation that - “Sickness absence-related costs to employers and taxpayers have been estimated at £22bn a year, with over 300,000 people each year taking up health-related benefits” Importantly, the document notes that the changes needed to be implemented by the NHS to achieve its long-term sustainability will require actions taken in partnership with external stakeholders, including employers. In this spirit, the NHS pledges to help develop ...

General Election Calls to Action

There have been a number of significant advances in public policy that affects RA, including the introduction of a National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Quality Standard for RA and a Best Practice Tariff for Early Inflammatory Arthritis. However, there is still a long way to go before we achieve high quality services for everyone with RA. In the run up to the General Election, and beyond, we want to strike up a conversation with policymakers, our Members and the wider public about opportunities that exist to further improve RA services. We have published a manifesto, “General Election 2015: ...

Join the Remission Mission!

NRAS have created the Remission Mission photo wall to allow you to share what remission means to you, and raise awareness of the need for improved management of rheumatoid arthritis. Anyone with RA, their family members, friends, and health care professionals are welcome to take part, so please join in today and tell us what remission means to you! Please visit the expandable, interactive Remission Mission wall to read the messages or share your own.

Finance and Office Administrator Job Vacancy

Finance and Office Administrator Part time (16.5 hrs. per week) Maternity Cover Salary £26,000 - £34,000 The Scleroderma Society Would you like to play an essential role in a small charity that aims to ensure that children and adults with scleroderma are able to live full and rewarding lives? The role of Finance and Office Administrator is to provide overall management of the society’s office and administration, and to ensure that the society’s day-to-day business runs efficiently and effectively. Duties include, general office administration, financial management and reporting, administering the charities membership scheme, and contributing into the development of budget and strategic plans. Closing date: Wednesday 19th ...

BSR Autumn Conference - book your place

Taking place 27-28 November in Brighton, the Autumn Conference is a central meeting point for rheumatology consultants and trainees. The two-day event offers excellent networking opportunities and the perfect platform to share best practice, hear from expert speakers, and discover the latest innovations. Last year’s event sold out so we’d urge you to book your place before it’s too late. Find out more and reserve your seat at the conference booking page.

Founder of the RSA Charity Sadly Dies

The RSA is very sad to share the news that Anne Mawdsley MBE died in North Staffordshire Hospital on Sunday 12th October, age 72. A leading light in raising funds for Raynaud’s and scleroderma research, it is important to celebrate Anne’s remarkable life and achievements and her family have planned a ‘Celebration Service’ which will take place on Friday 21st November at 11am at St Mary’s Church in her home village of Alsager, Cheshire, ST7 2EW. Anne was 33 when she first developed symptoms of Raynaud’s. Initially her being out outside in cold weather would precipitate an attack. Eventually, as the symptoms ...

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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.

ARMA’s Standards of Care

Arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions affect one in 5 people in the UK, causing pain and disability.

They can strike at any age, from infancy onwards. They cost society billions each year in health and social costs, lost employment, benefits; and they cost many individuals their independence and quality of life. There are many myths about these conditions, but the most damaging of all is the myth that nothing can be done.

Something can always be done, be it providing details of a local support group, or designing a service which means that people see the right specialist at the right time.

As part of ARMA’s Standards of Care project, a group of people with a range of musculoskeletal conditions has come together to identify what needs to happen in health services to enable them to minimise the pain and disability of arthritis, and to help people remain independent. They have suggested reasonable expectations of care and services for all people with musculoskeletal conditions.

We believe people have a right to:

  • Access to appropriate services for all people with musculoskeletal conditions
  • Timely diagnosis and treatment
  • Information
  • Services which are centered on the needs of users
  • Independence and self-determination

Read more about our overarching principles for the standards of care for people with musculoskeletal conditions.



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