ARMA newsletter header

May 2013

Director's Update

image of Federico Moscogiuri

Dear all,

Following an eventful April, this month has been in large part a month of follow-through and implementation for ARMA.

The main focus of this has been our MSK clinical networks project, which is our flagship project for this year, and which we are taking forward in strategic partnership with Peter Kay, the MSK NCD for England. Since coming into post last month, Ann (Project Manager) has been busy arranging meetings and conducting interviews with a broad range of stakeholders within the MSK community - including key primary and secondary care clinicians, patient groups and individuals within our membership – and pulling together existing evidence of “what good looks like”. Some clear consensus is already starting to emerge around a few key points, eg:

  • Many MSK services could and should be moved into the community – although the best way of doing so is less clear-cut.
  • There are many examples of good practice and good services: a key question is about how best to encourage areas without best practice to adopt and develop better quality services. The Year of Care model is clearly popular and has been mentioned several times.
  • Providing high quality MSK services is cheaper than providing poor quality ones, and leads to better patient outcomes and experience.

…All of which was in fact recently highlighted in a very interesting and compelling case study which was featured in the HSJ on 1 May, in an article entitled “modernising the musculoskeletal pathway” – which of course has echoes of another article which appeared in GP Magazine in August last year.


Public health is an increasingly important area for all those with an interest in long-term conditions generally, and the latest data from the Global Burden of Disease study in particular – which shows how MSK disorders are the single biggest cause of the rising burden of disability in the UK - provides us with a very strong platform to influence on this front as well. Prof. Tony Woolf, Chair of the Bone and Joint Decade (of which ARMA is the UK’s National Action Network), co-author of the GBD study and ARMA trustee, secured a meeting this month with senior staff in Public Health England, which was very positive and which lays a very promising foundation for meaningful dialogue on and input to PHE’s strategic priorities, and which we will follow up in due course as an Alliance.


Stepping outside the health arena, the review of disability benefits continues to impact on and cause serious concern for vast numbers of people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders across the UK, and by consequence for ARMA. As a member of the Fit for Work Coalition, ARMA this month sent a letter to Atos reinforcing the Coalition’s call for a Musculoskeletal disorder champion to assist in the assessment of personal independence payments (PIP).


Last but by no means least, our Alliance continues to grow and to become even more representative of our broad MSK community. This month I am delighted to welcome the British Acupuncture Council as new members of ARMA.


ARMA logo

Members' News and

New Member:
The British Acupuncture Council

Professional Standards Authority accreditation for the British Acupuncture Council

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is delighted to be a new member of ARMA and is looking forward to contributing to ARMA going forward.

BAcC has a membership of around 3,000 professionally qualified acupuncturists. It is the UK's largest professional/self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture. Acupuncture has been recognised by NICE for lower back pain, and there is an excellent evidence base for acupuncture and MSK conditions as well as for other conditions (e.g. NICE recommends acupuncture for migraine and tension type headaches)

Earlier this year it was announced that BAcC had been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. Harry Cayton, Chief Executive of the Professional Standards Authority said: “We are very pleased to accredit BAcC. Bringing acupuncture into a broad framework of assurance is good for patient, service users and the public and is the best way to promote quality.  The scheme offers enhanced protection to anyone looking for health and social care services, and gives acupuncture the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment.”

Further information on the accredited voluntary register scheme is available at

FibroAction Recruiting - First Chief Exec

FibroAction moving to the next level and recruiting its first Chief Exec

ARMA member FibroAction are seeking to recruit someone for the new and exciting role of Chief Executive of FibroAction.

FibroAction is almost entirely volunteer based and this is the first salaried role within the organization. Since the charity was founded in 2008, it has mainly been run by one of its founders, Lindsey Middlemiss. Lindsey announced last year that she would be stepping down from day-to-day operation of the charity due to family and professional commitments, but will remain as Chair of the Board.

Lindsey has said: "I am very excited that we are taking the step of venturing into employing paid staff. Whilst our volunteers contribute an enormous amount and always have done, there is a limit to both the level of commitment and the level of experience you can ask of most volunteers. Recruiting a paid Chief Executive should guarantee the sustainability of FibroAction."

This is an exciting, challenging and fulfilling leadership opportunity that will enable the successful applicant to make a real difference. Working alongside the Board of FibroAction, the Chief Executive will provide strategic vision and direction for the organisation, building on the solid foundation already in place, as well as being in overall charge of the day-to-day running of the organisation. The Chief Executive will also play a key role in raising the profile and income of FibroAction. The role is being advertised on the FibroAction website and you can find full details of the role on the charityjob website.

Workout at Work Day 2013

Workout at Work Day takes place on 12 June 2013, involving 300 planned events, with more than 700 members registered.

The CSP is also encouraging members to use W@WD as a way to influence and build relationships with local decision makers, such as councillors, public health leads or service planners and commissioners. For more information on how to do this, contact a member of the CSP's Public Affairs team.

Registration is closed now, but if you've already registered, please help the CSP by keeping your event details up to date. You can update your registration form by logging into the W@WD iCSP network and clicking 'Update my event details'.


About W@WD

W@WD aims to promote physical and mental wellbeing in the work environment, helping employees become more physically active in a variety of workplaces.

The day is also an opportunity to highlight the business benefits of having a healthy and physically active workforce and is a chance to remind people that overworking and poor posture could lead to musculoskeletal disorders and stress.

Aviva has recently begun a three year partnership with the CSP across the Society's Fit for Work initiative, which includes a programme of activity and resources designed to improve the wellbeing of the UK workforce and to highlight the importance of physiotherapy in preventing and reducing work related ill-health and sickness absence.


A look back at W@WD 2012

In 2012, 340 members ran over 300 events across the UK.  These included:

  • a ‘flash mob’ exercise class led by former Olympian Daley Thompson, organised by staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
  • an outdoor exercise class, led by former England rugby star Jonathan Webb, at Bristol’s Temple Quay ampitheatre
  • a range of activities, including Tai Chi and yoga classes, for staff on the Newcastle Metro, organised by Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic
  • an ‘Olympic-themed’ activity day for members of the public in Exeter’s Bedford Square, organised by physiotherapists at North Devon Healthcare Trust.

The day is a great way to promote physiotherapy to the general public. Last year’s W@WD secured more than 450 pieces of media coverage, including high profile pieces on BBC1 Breakfast, BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show and articles in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Times and Sunday Telegraph.

90 per cent of members said that participants greatly enjoyed their event and every member who completed the survey said that W@WD was very effective in raising the profile of physiotherapy.

An overwhelming majority of participants said W@WD increased their knowledge of the importance of exercise (78 per cent). 81 per cent also said they were very/extremely likely to build more activity into their daily lives as a result of taking part.

Read more of this article online.

BSR: Three-year Clinical Audit

New three-year contract to help improve care for patients with rheumatic conditions

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) has awarded the British Society for Rheumatology and Northgate Public Services a three-year contract to develop a national clinical audit for inflammatory arthritis as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP).

The audit will provide comparative details of the assessment, management and outcomes for people with these diseases. The audit is being designed so that results help clinicians improve the quality of care for patients and control their joint inflammation. For patients the aim is that they will be more aware of their care and more able to take control of their personal health.

The British Society for Rheumatology and Northgate will be working with 14 British Society for Rheumatology Regional Chairs who are experienced in recruiting patient clinical data. Statistical expertise will also come from the Statistical Lead and the Epidemiology Lead from the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at Southampton University. The audit will ensure that key insights are tailored to local regions under a national support network to ensure that all stakeholders are actively engaged and participating.

For further information, contact:

  • Northgate Public Services communications team: Northgate press office - / 0207 478 7803

Read full article online.

Arthritis Research UK at The Chelsea Flower Show

Arthritis Research UK's exhibit in the Royal Horticultural Society's show was designed with arthritis symptoms and traditional remedies in mind.

Aiming to raise awareness, the show garden uses plants with high levels of vitamin C and borage oil, and features several moving sculptures by Michelle Castles that depict the troubling nature of the disease.

Chris Beardshaw, the garden's designer, had to call in last-minute help from his friend Nick Knowles, of 'DIY SOS' fame. Nick assisted Chris in the construction of the large bespoke conservatory area made from frameless toughened glass. The materials had failed to arrive on time for Show Day, so Nick used his contacts and rallied experts to construct the large airy installation, from which one can enjoy the garden from a comfortable leather sofa.

See pictures on the ARMA site or full-size slides of the garden and the statues on the RHS website.

NRAS: Health and Social Care Bill

After being featured in the Queen’s Speech, The Care Bill was published on Friday 10th May and was introduced into the House of Lords last Tuesday. NRAS has been doing a lot of work on the ‘care and support plan’ element of the Bill, alongside our policy coalition partners in the Care and Support Alliance to ensure it reflects the needs of our members and other people with a fluctuating condition.

The NRAS Government Affairs Team submitted a number of amendments to the draft Bill, before the final version was published. The good news is that some really important amendments were accepted by the Department of Health, however not everything we would like to see changed was incorporated. Therefore, over the next couple of months we will be lobbying Lords and MPs to try have them make changes to the Bill on our behalf.


Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week

The first RA Awareness Week in the UK will be taking place between the 24th and 30th June and planning is now well underway. The theme for the week is that young people get RA too and we want to dispel the myth that RA is a disease of the elderly caused by a lifetime of wear and tear. Instead we want to emphasise that it is an autoimmune disease with no age barriers. NRAS has designed a poster to promote the week and would very much appreciate it if people could promote this wherever possible. To obtain a copy of the poster, please email


Let us Eat Cake

Would you like an excuse to eat cake, drink tea and enjoy time with friends, work colleagues, neighbours or your family whilst raising much needed funds?

Hold an NRAS Tea party during our RA Awareness Week – 24th to 30th June 2013. We will send you a fundraising pack (or you can download it from our website at which has lots of information and ideas on where to hold your tea party, who to invite, fundraising ideas and how your money will help.

Why not theme your tea party, here are a few ideas: Fathers’ Day Tea Party (16th June), Ascot Tea Party (18th to 22nd June), Wimbledon Tea Party  (24th June to 7th July) or an August Bank Holiday Tea Party (24th 26th August) the long weekend, and hopefully the better weather, and have a bank holiday tea party.  Get your deck chairs out and enjoy the sun whilst sipping your tea and eating mouth watering cakes! Whatever theme you choose for your Tea Party, sign up today and help us to help all those living with rheumatoid arthritis.

We want you to put your best foot forward and run for NRAS! Why not  take part in the iconic Great North Run and raise funds for NRAS? Or perhaps you would like to take in the beautiful parks in our capital city and run the Royal Parks Half Marathon? We have guaranteed places in both races, along with the  Great South Run, and we would like you to be a part of our team.

For more information on the above or any of our events and challenges please contact Val at or call 01628 501547 or visit our website at

NASS Stand, NASS Walk & Run

Last week NASS and NRAS shared an exhibition stand at the Primary Care Conference in Birmingham. Together they promoted the importance of recognising the early signs of inflammatory back pain and making a quick referral to a rheumatologist for a diagnosis.

There were reportedly 6,000 primary health care professionals at the conference, including GPs, nurses, physiotherapists and podiatrists. 

NASS en Masse

Throughout May and June NASS have been running our NASS en Masse events, getting people with AS together in Portsmouth, Glasgow and London for a sponsored walk and run.

There's not long left to apply for the 10k in Hyde Park, Sunday June 2nd.

See photos online from both events.

PMRGCAuk Members' Day in London

On 6 June PMRGCAuk will hold their AGM and annual Members' Day at NCVO in London, near Kings Cross. Speakers will be rheumatologists Dr Sarah Mackie and Dr Colin Pease, and nutritionist Vicky Skingley (who is well-known to ARMA members!).

Change of Address

Polymyalgia Rheumatica & Giant Cell Arteritis UK are moving out of the Birmingham Central Library base that they have shared with BARC for two years. The old library building is closing and the new one will not offer accommodation to voluntary organisations. So PMRGCAuk are going 'virtual' and their new postal address will be:

BM PMRGCAuk, London, WC1N 3XX.
Phone numbers and email will remain the same.

PMRGCAuk is looking for a sessional webmaster who can update our Dreamweaver site. If any partner organisations could 'lend' us their webmaster at cost for a few hours a week, we would be very interested to hear from you!

Read online.


Arthritis Care have recently launched a tele-befriending project – “Chat4Change,” which is progressing well. It is aimed at people with arthritis who want to improve their health, but cannot travel or commit to a face to face group.

Participants sign up for telephone groups that meet once a week on the telephone. The program is free, and runs for 8 sessions. It enables participants to chat on the phone with a small group of other people with arthritis to share experiences and learn simple techniques to help cope with arthritis.

Click here for more information.

PSALV reports from ARMA Scotland Meeting

PSALV attended ARMA Scotland Meeting in Edinburgh on 8 May.
Topics discussed included:

1.    ScotPHN - Scottish Public Health Network.

The ScotPHN is hosted by NHS Health Scotland. It is accountable to the Scottish Directors of Public Health. ScotPHN is open to everyone in Scotland who has a professional interest and significant involvement in the wider health improvement agenda including staff from the NHS, local authorities, academia and others.

Participation is centred round specific projects and invitations to participate in ScotPHN´s work have gone out widely. Anybody who wishes to be part of ScotPHN where appropriate may do so. The work programme is generated from the wider health improvement community in Scotland.

2.    The meeting agreed that NHS Inform MSK Zone must be widened to include inflammatory arthritis.

3.    A member of PSALV is meeting with QIS to discuss the implementation of Clinical Guideline 121 for Psoriasis & Psoriatic Arthritis.

Rheumatology e-learning

ARMA logo

Spotlight on...

Your Health Your Decision Evaluation Report

The aim of this publication is to share the insight and experience gained from the AQuA workstream, one of the three national QIPP Right Care programmes run in 2012, funded by the Department of Health.

The evaluation highlights and promotes the journey taken by the 33 clinical teams participating in a large scale collaborative programme, and the work around developing a receptive culture and promoting Shared Decision Making with educators. This report is written with quality and service improvement leads in mind, with a focus on the importance, application and implications of Shared Decision Making in patient care.

AQuA is the Advancing Quality Alliance – a membership body which aims to improve the quality of healthcare.

Click here to read the report.

NHS Alliance Event

The seminar titled, "The changing role of the general practitioner, primary care, and the development of Clinical Commissioning Groups", will provide an opportunity to assess the progress of Clinical Commissioning Groups following the authorisation in April of the new bodies established by the Health and Social Care Act.

18th June 2013
8:30 am - 1:00 pm

Part of the seminar will focus on the role of the GP in the reformed NHS, and the key issues surrounding the future of primary care. Further sessions will address the challenges and opportunities CCGs face in implementing their new duties, as well as how they are working together with bodies such as Health and Wellbeing Boards, Healthwatch and the NHS Commissioning Board to integrate care.

Speakers include:
Dr James Kingsland OBE, National Clinical Lead, NHS Integrated Clinical Commissioning Community;
Professor David Colin-Thomé, Chairman, Primary Care Commissioning;
Dr Michael Dixon, Chair, NHS Alliance and Interim President, NHS Clinical Commissioners;
Dr Laurence Buckman, Chair, General Practitioners Committee, BMA (British Medical Association).

See the Westminster Health Forum for more details and to book places.

ARMA Calendar


EULAR Congress, Madrid                           12th-15th June

Medicine and Me - Cardiff                          19 June

ARMA CEO Meeting                                     27th June  (was 3rd July)  

ARMA Board Meeting                                   5th July

BJD World Network Conference, Rio       11th-13th July

Policy Leads / Stakeholder Meeting          16th July


Check our website calendar for meetings and events.

  To see previous editions of the newsletter, click here.

  Please starting thinking about sending your items for inclusion in our next
  ARMA newsletter