January 2013

 Director's Update

Dear all,

Happy 2013! January this year marks the start of our new strategic plan for 2013-2015, which sets out our shared priorities as an Alliance and provides the MSK community with a clear set of targets for this year in particular.

This is a plan which we can all be proud of, and which we will all need to take ownership of if we are to achieve the aims and objectives which together we have set ourselves.

At the risk of raising expectations, I do believe that this year, despite being a year of great changes and challenges for the NHS in England - and with a very difficult economic backdrop across all nations - could turn out to be a pivotal year for ARMA and MSK.

And the year has already started very well for ARMA: hot on the heels of the announcement in December of a National Clinical Director (NCD) for MSK within the NHS Commissioning Board in England, I was invited earlier this month to assist the Directors of Domains Two (long-term conditions) and Three (acute episodes) in interviewing candidates for this post. Although the process is on-going, that fact that I was invited to be on the panel is itself a strong endorsement of ARMA and a very clear recognition of the importance of ARMA’s role in the new healthcare landscape from the very top of the NHS, and represents a milestone for the Alliance. Whoever will be the first-ever MSK NCD, I have no doubt that they will wish to work very closely with ARMA, and I very much look forward to all of us working together to genuinely improve the quality of care for all people with musculoskeletal disorders in England over the course of the year - including with other key NCDs at the Commissioning Board, and the Domain Directors themselves.

Goal 1, Aim 1 of our new strategic plan, therefore (“strategic direction and prioritisation of MSK from the centre”), is already looking good.

Some of the other reasons I feel positive about 2013, include the following:

  • ARMA’s MSK clinical networks project will be a key focal point for the Alliance this year. We are currently advertising for a Project Manager who, with DH funding, will take forward this critically important area of work over the course of a 12-month period. The next meeting of our clinical networks project group next week will help flesh out the programme of work for the year in more detail. Possibly linked to this will be a learning event for primary care and local Health and Well-Being Boards on MSDs, probably in June.

  • Many of our members are continuing to take forward projects which will see very significant progress if not outright culmination this year, and which will help to establish MSK firmly in the new NHS landscape in England in particular. Our latest new member, NOS, also brings with them great expertise in the area of falls and fractures, and the Falls and Fractures Alliance represents a new and potentially very important channel for ARMA going forward.
  • Our new corporate framework is live as of January, and should greatly improve the way in which we work together with industry. With 4 Gold industry members and 2 Silver members, the new framework has started 2013 on the right foot. Later this month, we are hosting our first-ever joint policy meeting between ARMA members and our new corporate members.
  • Our ARMA networks across the UK are finding new strength and a shared purpose, and I look forward to ARMA members and ARMA networks working effectively together at the local level, in what is sure to be a key “battleground” for us this year.


Though the challenges for the entire health and care sector generally this year will be great, there are also significant opportunities, and I am very confident that ARMA is well-equipped to seize these opportunities, whilst facing up to the challenges effectively. As always, we are strongest when working as one, and, armed with our new strategic plan and a number of key, outcome-focused projects, and with hopefully increasing recognition from the “centre”, we could be stronger this year than we ever have been.

Members' News and

New policy and public affairs from Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis Research UK have launched a new section on their website which includes updates on the work of their policy and public affairs team. You can also access downloads of recent reports from the new page.

Read online.

NRAS Awards and Vacancy

NRAS Patients in Focus Awards
The deadline for the NRAS Patients in Focus Awards applications is 8th  February 2013.  Please don’t delay in submitting your entry and being in with the chance of presenting your work at BSR 2013.  Further details can be found at

Read online.

FMA-UK move for a new trustee

Change of Address

FMA UK have moved premises. Their new office address is:

FMA UK, Studio 3013, Mile End, Abbeymill Business Centre,
12 Seedhill Road, Paisley, PA1.  

The existing telephone numbers will still get through, and the email address remains the same:

 head.office@fmauk.org or pam.stewart@fmauk.org

A Matter of Trustee

FMA UK are seeking a new trustee as they have one retiring in February. All trustees play an active part in the management of FMA UK, and expertise in finance, publishing, PR and policy would be most useful.

Please contact Pam for more details if you know of anyone who would be interested.

Read online.

Inaugural Falls and Fractures meeting

The Falls and Fractures Alliance (FFA) held its inaugural Executive Board meeting in December. The FFA, led by the National Osteoporosis Society and Age UK, brings together a wide and varied group of health organisations seeking to make real inroads into reducing the rate of hospital admissions ...

Read online.

Osteoporosis Research Grant

Apply Now for a National Osteoporosis Society Research Grant

The 2013 National Osteoporosis Society Research Grants Round is accepting applications. Up to £250,000 is available to fund projects which clearly demonstrate potential benefits to people with or at risk of osteoporosis and are in line with NOS research ...

Read online.

News from BARC

The Birmingham Arthritis Resource Centre (BARC) have drawn-up their own newsletter for January 2013.

It features an article on the "Benefits of Physical Activity and Good Nutrition", a Q&A section, "A Patient's Story" and useful local contact details.

They have provided it in PDF format for you to download. Click here to open it.


Read online.

A word from ARMA Stoke

Stephen Tatton from ARMA Stoke Local Network Group writes:

After attending the ARMA local groups meeting at Birmingham I travelled home with a feeling that 2013 will be a year of forward momentum, not only for us at Stoke, but for ...

Read online.

Joint Potential Events

Too Young for Arthritis - Joint Potential is Arthritis Care Scotland’s latest information about self management courses for children and young people with arthritis.  

Joint Potential is a programme of events for young people ...

Read online.

NOS Events in 2013

Medicine and Me Osteoporosis aims to provide a forum in which the patient’s voice is given top priority. This meeting provides an opportunity for healthcare professionals to hear first-hand from patients and their families about their experiences and concerns and for patients to hear about the latest treatments and research by questioning the experts in an informal environment.

Read more online.


Be the Cure from EULAR-PARE

"Be The Cure" is one of the largest Rheumatoid Arthritis research projects within Europe, in which academic key opinion leadership and industrial expertise are combined.

The attached document which comes to us from EULAR-PARE, is an introduction to "Be The Cure" (BTCure) ...

Read online.

Policy Items

Government welcomes contribution from NASS

The Department of Health published a response today to the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society’s campaign about ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

The piece acknowledges a "widespread variation in the provision of NHS services ..."

Read online.

ARMA Publishes Strategic Plan

At the start of the year, ARMA published our Strategic Plan document, a calendar spanning the next three years with targets and achievements for the Alliance.

Click here to browse and download the document ...

Read online.

Spotlight on...

Shared Decision Making


“Shared decision making (SDM) is the conversation that happens between a patient and their health professional to reach a healthcare choice together. This conversation needs patients and professionals to understand what is important to the other person when choosing a treatment." This site provides a selection of decision aids for patients and health professionals to facilitate Shared Decision Making when choosing a treatment.

Self management support resource centre

The Self-management support resource centre, in association with The Health Foundation, has put together a list of "Top tips for engaging health professionals in service development."

ARMA Calendar

ARMA Clinical Networks Meeting                5th February

Project Manager CV deadline                       13th February

ARMA CEO Meeting                                        13th February

RCN Rheumatology Forum Conference     21-22 February

ARMA Policy Group Meeting                        27th February

Medicine and Me - Birmingham                  11th March

Rheumatology 2013                                        23-25 April

Medicine and Me - Aberdeen                        10th May

Medicine and Me - Cardiff                              19 June

Check our website calendar for meetings and events.

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  ARMA newsletter. Send to projects@arma.uk.net