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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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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.

Musculoskeletal and Arthritis News

Life with Osteoporosis: the untold story

National Osteoporosis Society Conference 2014 The Osteoporosis Conference will run from 30th Nov – 2nd Dec 2014 at the Birmingham ICC. With expertise gained over 25 years, the Conference has evolved to offer a high-quality and diverse scientific programme of interest to clinicians, health professionals and basic scientists in the area of bone health. For more information visit “Life with Osteoporosis: the untold story” – Report Launched In June of this year the National Osteoporosis Society began “Life with Osteoporosis” – a landmark study to find out more about the impact of osteoporosis and fragility fractures on people’s lives. The report has now been launched ...

Commissioning guidance documents

As many of you will be aware the British Orthopaedic Association has developed commissioning guidance documents aimed at helping those involved in the commissioning of services. They cover a range of treatment areas that include painful deformed great toe in adults, painful tingling fingers, pain arising from the hip in adults, painful osteoarthritis of the knee, low back pain and subacromial shoulder pain. Each guide has been put together by a dedicated multidisciplinary guidance development group, with representatives from Specialist Societies, primary care, physicians, commissioners, patient groups, therapists and clinicians involved in the delivery of care for the particular pathway. In ...


Back Pain Video The British Acupuncture Council has produced this fun video promoting back care tips acupuncture for Back Pain Awareness Week. Go to or click the image to see the quirky YouTube video.   Acupuncture Research Resource Centre Symposium – Save the date The ARRC symposium will take place on Saturday 21st March 2015 at King’s College London. We are currently finalising our line-up of speakers and it is looking very exciting… If you have a poster that you are interested in presenting or would like some further information, please contact our research manager, Mark Bovey TV programme on acupuncture for pain Dr Hugh McPherson ...

Guest Blog - Chief Cooks and Bottle Washers?

by Jann Landles, Hon Secretary, Vasculitis UK In the European Union, a disease is defined as rare when it affects less than 1 in 2000 people. The European Commission defines rare diseases as ‘life-threatening or chronically debilitating diseases which are of such low prevalence that special combined efforts are needed to address them’. With 15 systemic vasculitis disease phenotypes and several subsets, some of these diseases being very rare but not all of them life threating, you can begin to image the issues facing Vasculitis UK. Like many small charities, Vasculitis UK was created by relatives in response to the loss of ...

Ealing CCG MSK JSNA Chapter

NHS Ealing CCG Musculoskeletal Services, led by Dr Ian Bernstein, published this Chapter for Ealing Joint Strategic Needs Assessment in September 2014. A report on Musculoskeletal Health in Ealing, it contains data on levels of need, interventions, costs and benchmarking. Click here to download the Assessment report.

The 2015 Challenge Manifesto

The 2015 Challenge Manifesto has been produced by a partnership of national organisations representing health and care charities, local government, communities, staff and leaders. It sets out the essential components of a new health and care system and how they might look and be experienced by people using and working in health and care, and the wider public. The Manifesto calls for “a national sector-led programme to support health and social care organisations to adopt participation, personalised care and support planning, shared decision making and supported self-management approaches for all who would benefit.”  

Sussex NHS musculoskeletal services tender

Silverstone Half Marathon NRAS has charity places in this half marathon which takes place on 15th March 2015 at the iconic Silverstone motor racing circuit. This is great as a first half marathon or a good training run for any aspiring marathon runners! Contact Val at for more details. NRAS Annual Conference 2014 Last Friday we held the 3rd NRAS Annual Conference in West Yorkshire. It was an excellent day full of interesting presentations, opportunities to try Tai Chi and Pilates and time to socialise with others living with RA. We were privileged to have Dr Maya Buch speak about clinical trials and the ...

Lupus Video & Awareness Month in October

New LUPUS UK video for Lupus Awareness Month in October On 1st October 2014 LUPUS UK will be launching their brand new animated video which explains what it is like to live with lupus. The video is part of the charity’s Lupus Awareness Month campaign to help more people understand the condition. The video will be available to stream from the LUPUS UK website homepage –   Devon & Cornwall Lupus Information Day – Saturday 11th October 2014 On Saturday 11th October LUPUS UK will be hosting a Lupus Information Day at Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon. The day will feature expert speakers on ...

National Osteoporosis Society Conference 2014

Registration is currently open for The Osteoporosis Conference 2014! With expertise gained over 25 years, the Conference has evolved to offer a high-quality and diverse scientific programme of interest to clinicians, health professionals and basic scientists in the area of bone health. We look forward to welcoming you to Birmingham ICC from 30 Nov – 02 Dec 2014.  

NHS England to pilot inflammatory arthritis campaign

NASS were delighted to announce that NHS England are planning to pilot an inflammatory arthritis campaign in early 2015. The campaign will aim to encourage people with inflammatory arthritis symptoms to visit their GP. This should hopefully mean inflammatory arthritis can be diagnosed earlier and be well managed. A pilot site, to host the campaign, is currently being finalised and the pilot campaign will start on 2 April 2015.

Back in the Office

October 6th-12th 2014 is BackCare Awareness Week. As ever, the aim of the week is to bring people up-to-date on the causes, prevalence and impact of back pain. In addition to this core aim, the week also seeks to raise awareness of and within a specific at-risk group, and this year it’s all about back pain in office workers. Awareness week activities include a radio day at the start of the week and the publication of the National Back Pain Survey 2014, as well as educational and taster events at participating clinics and community centres up and down the country. The ...

TV programme on acupuncture for pain

Dr Hugh McPherson will be filmed doing an MRI scan to explore how acupuncture might influence the way the brain mediates pain. The broadcast is on BBC2 within the series "Trust Me I'm a Doctor," scheduled to air on Wed 15th October, 8pm   Keynote speaker for Acupuncture Research Resource Centre (ARRC) symposium 2015 Next year’s ARRC symposium is set to take place on Saturday 21 March 2015. The Keynote talk will be from Rosa Schnyer (professor, University of Texas) on inflammation and chronic disease.

BSR Autumn Conference

British Society for Rheumatology annual conference - a significant date in the rheumatology calendar The British Society for Rheumatology’s Autumn Conference, taking place 27 – 28 November, in Brighton, will offer delegates the chance to hear from world-leading experts and exchange best practice through high-level discussion groups, debates and expert panel sessions. Case reports will provoke debate and discussion on the management of complex cases and the event offers invaluable opportunities to share best practice, and come away with new knowledge that can be used in a delegates own clinical setting. Feedback from last year’s sold-out conference indicated that 93% of delegates would ...

NASS Raise Awareness

AS & You NASS was delighted to launch our AS & You events on 18 September in Birmingham. These events have been specifically designed for those who have been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis or axial spondyloarthritis in the last 18 months. They were developed following a focus group involving patients under 30 who specifically pinpointed that knowing more detail about AS when they were first diagnosed would have helped them to come to terms with their diagnosis a lot sooner. The first event was a great success, the feedback from everyone who went has been excellent. The aim to give newly ...

Guest blog – The Ice Bucket Challenge

by Chloe Kastoryano, Project Coordinator, Scleroderma Society Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – a condition very few of us had heard of until recently – is suddenly widely known throughout the world. The ice bucket craze that started in America has swept across the pond and now in the UK we’re doing the same. The globe has united behind the #icebucketchallenge, and different countries have put their stamp on the stunt with their own variants – Gaza, for example, is doing the #RubbleBucketChallenge. The surest sign that the movement has reached a critical mass is that a Wikipedia page has even been created. What started as a campaign to raise ...

Person Centred Care 2020

Calls and contributions from health and social care charities National Voices, the health and care charity coalition, today sets out demands for genuinely person centred care. It warns that services are increasingly fragmented and underfunded, with too little voice for patients and families, and says that fully involving people in decisions is the key to improvement. In Person centred care 2020: Calls and contributions from health and social care charities and in a related letter in The Times today, National Voices members call on the next government to make person-centred care the central ambition for health reform, and to provide consistent leadership, ...

Changes at PSALV and Cross Party Group

The Next Psoriasis and PSA Cross Party Group Meeting in Holyrood is on 24th of September. There is a proposal from Skin Conditions Campaign Scotland to have the purpose of the CPG changed. There was much discussion on this, and it is on the agenda for the next meeting. The new suggested title is “Skin conditions and associated Rheumatic conditions”- (such as PSORIASIS-PSA) PSALV is concerned at loss of Rheumatology input and interest at this, after 4/5 years running as a successful group.   PSALV is dropping its SC0 charity number, due to lack of active Trustees, but will still remain as the ...

Public Health Report & Parliamentary Reception

Public health and musculoskeletal health: Arthritis Research UK recently published the report “Musculoskeletal health: a public health approach”.  It is available from the reports-and-resources section of our website. Please contact us if you would like a printed copy. Parliamentary reception and party conferences:We are holding our annual Parliamentary reception on 15 October, and have invited the Health Secretary to join us.  We will also be meeting with a number of MPs, prospective parliamentary candidates and local councillors at the three party conferences, to discuss our public health report and our manifesto.

Care and support for people with RA and their carers

NRAS has launched a new survey to investigate the experiences of care and support in England for people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and their carers. We want to know what types of care and support are needed for people with RA, whether these needs are being met properly, and what patients’ views are about the Care Act 2014 reforms. The results of the survey will eventually be published as a briefing paper. The survey closes at midnight on 09 October. To take part please follow the surveymonkey link.

Meeting with Scottish Government on rheumatology services

ARMA Scotland Chair Steve McBride (Policy Adviser for Arthritis Care) has taken part in a meeting with the Scottish Government Health and Social Care directorate to look at improvements in rheumatology services. The meeting was arranged by the Scottish Society of Rheumatologists in the light of the needs assessment report on RA produced by the Scottish Public Health Network.   Steve writes: “It is now nearly two years since the Scots PHN report came out. It has been well received but there has been little in the way of coordinated government response. The August 26 meeting at St Andrews House certainly put ...

EDS UK 2014 Residential Conference

EDS UK will be holding their 2014 residential conference in Solihull Birmingham October 24th-26th. The conference is open to both patients and medical professionals.   We have an impressive line-up of speakers that will be holding talks on the most up-to-date information about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. There will be interactive workshops and opportunities for you to ask questions. Please visit the EDS UK website for more information, tickets and a full line up of speakers.  

The Importance of Web-based Information

One of the issues raised by Vasculitis patients is the lack of information provided when they are told of their condition. With little information or further lack of explanation it is little wonder that patients and their families often become very anxious and distraught. Many people search the internet for an explanation of the condition and often find themselves reading articles that leave them more distressed than when they started their search, especially when the information has been written by non-professionals and the information is years out of date. Knowing this was a common experience for patients and their families, when ...

BSR Autumn Conference Discount

The BSR Autumn Conference 2014 – ARMA members can enjoy a discounted package      This year’s British Society for Rheumatology Autumn Conference takes place in Brighton from 27 - 28 November and will offer delegates the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the UK and hear from world-leading experts on four topics rheumatoid arthritis, crystal arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and vasculitis. Over 90% of attendees to the 2013 conference said they would recommend this event to a colleague and ARMA members can ensure they have a presence at this prominent event with discounted charity pod in the exhibition area, plus a full ...

Spine Selfies for World Spine Day

Every year on October 16th, people from around the world join together to raise awareness on World Spine Day (WSD) as part of the Bone and Joint Decade's Action Week.   To raise awareness on World Spine Day and in accordance with the "Straighten Up and Move" theme, the BJD are asking people to take a photo of their spine and share via social media using #worldspineday, #spineselfie. Photo should be tasteful, creative and help to raise awareness for healthy spine habits. Photos can be shared on the World Spine Day Facebook, Twitter (@World_spine_day) page or via email Spinal disorders, such as ...

AKU Society to host the 8th International Workshop

The AKU Society will host the 8th International Workshop on AKU on Thursday 16 October at the Hotel Ariadne in Stockholm, Sweden. AKU is an iconic rare form of osteoarthritis, and the days talks will cover basic research explaining new biomarkers for OA, new anatomical structures seen in OA bone, as well as updates on the clinical research investigating new treatments for AKU. After the talks, there will be a tour of Museum Millesgarden, followed by dinner at Hotel Foresta. A full list of speakers and programme of talks is available online from the Society's website. Registration is free. Please contact Anki Kihlberg ...

Chris dresses up for NRAS

For the fourth year in a row Chris Deighton, NRAS Medical Advisor and constant supporter, will once again take on the challenge of the Great North Run for NRAS.  This year Chris will be running the 13.1 mile route dressed as a pub landlord for the day with Helly Berger (NRAS member) in her wheelchair as his buxom barmaid (last year they donned super hero outfits for the day!).  Helly has had JIA from a very early age and has had a number of operations on her joints and yet she shows such courage.  Chris will be pushing Helly in ...

Upcoming BIMM Events 2014/15

27th – 29th Sept         Module 1 - Foundation Course LCOM Boston Place London NW1 6QH This module will cover the essentials of history taking and systematic physical examination of the musculoskeletal system. You will be introduced to the neurophysiology of pain and the relevance of the dysfunction model to understanding the modern epidemic of back pain. You will learn how to assess posture, gait and function and develop your manual skills in diagnosis of soft tissue dysfunction. Through understanding of joint mechanics and physiology you will begin to learn the principles of mobilisation and manipulation. Demonstration of diagnostic technique on clinic patients ...

New Booklet: Lupus and kidney disease

LUPUS UK has just finished production of a new 12-page booklet, ‘Lupus and the Kidneys’. Approximately 1-in-3 people with lupus develop kidney disease, making this an important addition to the range of Information Products offered. The new booklet is available for free by contacting LUPUS UK National Office or by downloading the new kidneys booklet pdf from our website.  

Understanding between Health Board and North Wales ARMA

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance work together to improve services for patients. BCU Health Board and the North Wales ARMA have agreed to work together to strengthen the planning and commissioning of services for chronic musculoskeletal conditions. The partnership was launched at an event at Llandudno Hospital on 31st July. Signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Health Board and the NW ARMA, Health Board Chairman, Dr. Peter Higson said: “We are delighted to be working with the North Wales Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance to ensure that patients can contribute to the way we design and deliver ...

Portsmouth Osteoporosis Support Group Newsletter Autumn 2014

As you will read in the Portsmouth Osteoporosis Autumn 2014 Newsletter, this has been an exciting year for promoting the National Osteoporosis Society and Queen Alexandra Hospital. Dr Young Min and his team have worked so hard and it is a privilege to be part of this. The Support Group's Autumn Programme opens on September 11th 2014 in Cosham. There have been lots of positive developments over the last few months and the members of our local Portsmouth Osteoporosis Support Group deserve to be congratulated for playing such a huge role in making it all possible. The local group have been raising ...

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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