CEO update by Sue Brown
March has been a very impactful month for ARMA. My highlight was probably the ARMA roundtable on mental health. The statistics about incidence of mental health amongst people with musculoskeletal conditions don’t surprise me. It’s obvious why long-term pain and difficulty moving would go along with high levels of depression and anxiety. What surprises me is how little support people get with their mental well-being and that’s something ARMA is determined to change.
ARMA members will be discussing what they want to do next on mental health at this week’s members meeting. Personally, I’d like to see an IAPT service for MSK/pain commissioned in every area. I know that whatever we decide to focus on, we now have colleagues in the mental health sector who understand how vital this is and are ready to work with us.
The round table is an example of where ARMA works at its best, bringing people together to find common ground and collaborate. Another is our engagement with the Department for Health and Social Care on prevention. We have come together to identify our priority proposals for MSK prevention so that we can give a clear message to government. The clarity and cross sector support means we can make a much bigger impact than each of us working individually.
Our webinars continue to go from strength to strength. In March we delivered our most popular webinar ever on the National Back Pain Pathway. We’ve got a really interesting one at the start of April on supporting women with inflammatory conditions around pregnancy. See the ARMA webinar page to join or watch the recording. As you can see, we cover a range of topics, so if there’s a webinar you’d like to see us run, please let us know.
I always enjoy talking to members, large and small, about their work and how ARMA can support them. So, it was good to find out more about the priorities for the RCN Rheumatology Nursing Network. One of our smaller members, they have some ambitious plans for the next year. I’ve also been talking to a few new organisations who want to find out more about joining us.
ARMA is nothing without our members, and we value the contribution of everyone, large and small. We’ll be exhibiting at the BSR conference at the end of April, so if you are there do come and say hello. And if you know of an organisation that would benefit from collaborating on MSK heath, please suggest that they join us. There are so many opportunities to push things in the right direction for patients, and far more that unites us than divides us. The more of us we are, the stronger our voice can be.