This is a category taken from the full feed of Musculoskeletal and Arthritis news provided by ARMA's members.
  • The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) is the umbrella body for the arthritis and musculoskeletal community in the UK, and our mission is to transform the quality of life of people with musculoskeletal conditions. We have 40 member organisations ranging from specialised support groups for rare diseases to major research charities and national professional bodies.

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There are many reasons for organisations working in collaboration with others. Over the years I have worked to influence health and care policy I have seen many changes which could never have happened if organisations had not worked together on issues of common concern, even where opinions may differ on other issues.

Bone and Joint week 2017 in October showed how, with a bit of co-ordination, we can work together to speak louder than any one organisation alone. Bone and Joint Week is an international opportunity to raise awareness of issues related to all things musculoskeletal. It also contains days for arthritis, spinal, paediatric bone and joint conditions and osteoporosis. There was a lot of planned activity by different ARMA members.

ARMA co-ordinated social media activity to raise awareness of the week but also to amplify members own campaigns. NHS England and Public Health England got in on the act, publishing a blog post from ARMA Chair, Tony Woolf, to launch the week, and supporting the activity on twitter. By sharing our plans, ARMA enabled small organisations without much social media capacity to take part in celebrating the week and organisations with their own plans to reach a bigger audience. Everyone benefits from the increased impact.

We can see what a difference working together made. Compared with last year’s BJA week we saw around 30 times more reach, more people clicking through to our information, more retweets. But it doesn’t stop with one week. Across the whole year, ARMA will be working to enable our members to support each other and enabling increased debate and profile for musculoskeletal issues.

Why not get involved? Here are three things you can do:

Get involved – there’s strength in numbers.

Guest Blog by Paul Hitchcock, Chief Executive, The British Acupuncture Council

I recently spoke at an NHS England event for International Day for Older People, my talk being titled “Lessons from traditional Chinese acupuncture – adding value to life”. We know we have a demographic challenge here in the UK and we talk about an ageing population that will see an increase of around one million people over the age of sixty five in the next three years. In China the number is closer to three hundred million, although the approach there is not to use age as the differentiator but the person’s overall health and wellbeing – an approach that is also now starting to be applied here in the UK.

Another major difference in the approach to health management is the integration of traditional acupuncture with western medicine – an approach endorsed by the World Health Organisation strategy, and the use of acupuncture earlier and in more conditions than it is often considered here in the UK. For example in China acupuncture is used as an early intervention in treatment following a stroke.

So what might be the lessons for older people here in the UK especially those who have an MSK issue as part of a complex pattern of co-morbidities?

Perhaps we should be considering a wider spread of therapeutic support than has been used in the past? For example what would happen if the range of therapies traditionally used by an acupuncturist trained in the eastern medical paradigm was added to the choices open to the patient? What would happen if the first point of contact for an MSK patient was a traditional eastern trained acupuncturist?

The integration of western ‘orthodox’ medicine and eastern ‘traditional’ medicine is a strategic intent of the WHO and is now being mandated in China where the problems of an ageing population dwarf those same problems here in the UK. Shouldn’t we also be integrating the two medical paradigms?

NICE is looking for members to join the persistent pain guideline committee.

They are looking for:

  • two general practitioners
  • a pain specialist
  • a physician with interest in pain
  • a liaison psychiatrist
  • a pharmacist
  • an allied health professional
  • a commissioner
  • a pain psychologist
  • a nurse specialist or practitioner
  • a public health professional.

They are also looking for co-opted expert witnesses with the following background or experience:

  • an addiction specialist
  • a social worker.

Find full details here on the NICE website.
NICE are also recruiting for lay members to join the committee:

Closing date: 5pm, Wednesday 22 November 2017.


The Annual European Congress of Rheumatology will take place in Amsterdam, 13-16 June 2018.

Building on a record of 4,850 abstracts submitted in 2017, EULAR 2018 is expected to achieve more success than ever before. Submit your abstract and join EULAR in its endeavour to improve the availability of information and the ability to diagnose and treat all areas of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs).

Submit your abstract

Abstract submission deadline: 31 January 2018 23:59 CET


Deadline is Friday 21st December. Please submit your completed essays entry to

The Edgar Stene Prize 2018 competition is open to people 18 years and over who are living with a Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal (RMD) disease. The 2018 prize will be awarded to the winning essay on the topic:

“My personal champion – supporting my everyday life with a rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (RMD)”

For many people with RMDs it can be a long journey to receive the right diagnosis and appropriate treatment for their condition. The competition invites entrants to write about their personal experience. As the UK’s national member organisation of EULAR–PARE, ARMA will appoint a judging panel to decide upon the one essay we will submit to the competition on behalf of the UK.

Each entry should not exceed 2 pages (A4) and be submitted along with information about the author. Please see the full competition rules and letter to member organisations with further details on the essay theme.

The overall Stene Prize winner, chosen by a EULAR jury, will be announced by 15th March 2018. The Stene Prize winner will be awarded a prize of € 1,000 and will be invited to attend the Opening Plenary Session of the EULAR Congress in Amsterdam (13th June 2018) with travel and accommodation covered. The runner up will be awarded €700 and third place awarded €300.

If you would like to take part of the judging panel, please email ARMA at by Friday 1st December 2017.  

The RCN Rheumatology Forum would like to report that in September 2017 the 4th edition of the RCN Biologics guidance document for Rheumatology Practitioners went live: “Assessing, managing and monitoring Biologic therapies for Inflammatory Arthritis

It is available online now as a downloadable PDF via our link:

Strategy Day

On the 17th Nov 2017 the RCN Rheumatology Forum are planning to meet for a (self-funded) Strategy Day where future projects and final details of the forthcoming RCN Rheumatology Nursing Workshop will be discussed.

The RCN Rheumatology Nursing Workshop 2018

This best-practice event is to be held at the RCN HQ on the 12th January 2018, starting at 11am and finishing around 3pm.

Topics include:

  • patient fatigue
  • pain
  • leadership and resilience training
  • psychological impact of chronic disease
  • Biosimilars update and how they impact on practice
  • Rheumatology Specialist Nursing Competency frameworks.

This workshop has been developed and based on the results of a forum survey which asked you to identify issues relating to the management of rheumatological disease, interventions, treatment and support.

The aim of the workshop is to address these issue as well as developing the unmet need of clinical leadership skills and personal and professional resilience. This event will enable specialist nurses to continue to deliver excellent care, follow best practice and inspire colleagues despite continued NHS barriers and difficulties.

On Wednesday 11th October, NRAS launched its new report, Work Matters, following a survey of over 1,500 people with rheumatoid arthritis.

The launch took place in Parliament and was attended by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work- Penny Mordaunt MP, who spoke about the importance of work as a health outcome. The findings from this report will form much of NRAS’ campaigning going forward.

You can read the report here and can also order a hardcopy from this link.

World Arthritis Day

To celebrate World Arthritis Day and the ‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today’ campaign, we launched a new video to raise public awareness about the importance of early recognition, diagnosis and treatment in RA. The video was done in collaboration with Sandoz and the Oxford Academic Health Science Network. You can view the #AngryHand video on the official website.

In two new NRAS videos, our Scottish Ambassadors and Dr Neil McKay from the Scottish Society for Rheumatology, explain how RA patients living in Scotland can help shape improvements to their rheumatology services.

Patients who have had RA for a year or more, and live in Scotland, can fill out the questionnaires that will be available in your clinic. Information gathered will be analysed and used to identify areas of good practice that can be shared across the country.

Both videos can be viewed here.

The BSR is delighted to have launched a mentoring scheme exclusively for all our members, whether you are a newly qualified or experienced professional. The mentoring scheme is a flexible and open platform that matches developing professionals to trusted mentors with relevant skills and knowledge. This brand new service is open exclusively for members – and completely free!

Find out more to sign up as a mentor or mentee:

2018 Annual Conference

Register interest to attend our flagship event, the 2018 Annual Conference, by emailing the events team –

‘Rheumatology in Northern Ireland – the State of Play’ report

We recently published our new report with Arthritis Care Northern Ireland, which presents rheumatology services in Northern Ireland from clinical and patient perspectives. View it here:

Myositis Masterclass is back!

Book now for this popular masterclass aimed at consultants and trainees. The course provides attendees with a comprehensive myositis training package, covering neuromuscular assessment and how to improve overall quality of care for patients.

Date: 7-8 December 2017
Location: Manchester
Book here:

Best practice awards deadline is approaching

The deadline for BSR members to apply for the Best Practice Awards is Monday 30 October 2017 – promote best practice in rheumatology and innovation by submitting an application.

Apply here:

The FSEM (UK) and BASEM joint annual conference Sport and Exercise – Bringing us all Together brought a focus, this year, on MSK Health, Physical Activity and Lifestyle. Delivered in the historical town of Bath 12th and 13th October, the conference was attended by over 400 health professionals with guest sessions from the University of Bath and the ARUK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis.

Physical Activity in the Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease was delivered with a scientific approach to behaviour change and how technology can help support more people to become active, this was a key focus for the University of Bath. Whilst the ARUK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis delivered a GP/Physiotherapist directed session outlining the latest research on Ankle Injury and Osteoarthritis and Exercises for Patients with Osteoarthritis. The FSEM (UK) and BASEM sessions focused on Tendinopathy and Concussion Management, with an early breakfast session on Lifestyle Medicine, Improving Metabolic Health through Food, Activity and Community Engagement, proving to be a popular choice the morning after the dinner!

Keynote sessions were delivered on Injury Prevention, the Prevention through the life course of Osteoporosis and a session on Lessons Learned from Military Rehabilitation brought an awe inspiring view of what can be achieved via Exercise Medicine based rehab.

BackCare would like to make you aware of their Carol Concert coming up on 19th December 2017: a special performance of the Brandenburg Singers with conductor Robert Porter.

19th December 2017 at 6:30pm

Tickets £18

Click to open the full-size event poster.

The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy
Savoy Hill

The next joint meeting of the Haywood User Group / ARMA Stoke is on Dec 1st 2017 at the Haywood Hospital, in the lecture room at 1pm.

Refreshments are available from 12:30pm.

All patients, carers, staff and interested parties are welcome.

Haywood Hospital,
High Lane,
Stoke on Trent