November has been a very active month for ARMA. Not just in the sense that we are doing a lot but also that a lot of it has been about physical activity, which seems to be exciting and uniting the MSK community.
The ARMA lecture featured three speakers with different perspectives on the subject. A wide range of people attended, bringing GPs into conversations with public health professionals, parkrun with sport therapists, pain specialists with the DWP, Sport England with Healthwatch. These are the sort of connections that happen at an ARMA event and the discussions continued long after the lecture was over. The following week we had a webinar on physical activity, with practical tools to help people with MSK conditions be more active. It proved the most popular webinar we have ever delivered.
There’s a lot of excitement around ARMA at the moment, not just about physical activity. We have a new strategy developed by the membership. It is clearer and more focused which should mean it delivers more impact. There’s a desire to focus on issues where we can be more effective working together than alone. We’ve had interest from potential new members, funders and people who want to work in partnership with us, so there will be no end of opportunities for us to collaborate in 2019.
We’re developing our workplan for next year, putting the strategy into action. It will be a balance between capitalising on opportunities and setting our own agenda. We will be working with NHS England and Public Health England, where MSK is now higher up the agenda, making sure the voice and expertise of all our members is heard. We will also be pursuing our own issues, one of which will be physical activity.
In my almost two years at ARMA I don’t think I have felt so much positivity. Policy change is slow, difficult and often frustrating. Collaboration can be the same. We often feel that things aren’t moving as fast as we’d like, that MSK doesn’t get the priority we know it deserves. Please do watch the lecture and the webinar. They express precisely how ARMA members’ activity, combined with that of external stakeholders, can make their different contributions, and work together to deliver something special.
I’m looking forward to working with you all in 2019. I hope to return after the Christmas break feeling as positive as I do now. There will be some exciting collaborations ahead and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve.
Get involved and help us find out.