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Arthritis News

Thursday, 14 March 2019, in London

The workshop has been developed by GPs for GPs, and is aimed at furthering your practical skills to encourage best-practice MSK care with your patients. It includes a range of interactive, practical workshops focused on building expertise in MSK care.

The course is worth 12 CPD points if completed alongside the e-learning course.
The cost is £130+ VAT and delegates can sign up at

In 2018 NASS held two community engagement conferences called NASS Voices, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, aiming to bring together people with axial SpA (AS), their families and friends, local rheumatologists, nurses, physiotherapists and others interested in the condition. The team wanted people to come with questions and leave with answers.

Feedback indicated that these events truly delivered on their promise, so NASS is excited to be running four more events in 2019.

Cardiff: Saturday 13 April 2019
Southampton: Saturday 11 May 2019
Leeds: Saturday 7 September 2019
London: Saturday 16 November 2019

These events will feature practical talks and activities delivered by rheumatologists, physiotherapists, branch representatives and members of the NASS team. “We hope that delegates enjoy sharing personal experiences and leave with new friendships, a full complement of self-care techniques and a greater ability to support others across the axial SpA (AS) community,” says Head of Communications and Marketing, Maxine Napal.

The new ASone Social will be held the evening before each event: a free, informal meet up where local people with an interest in axial SpA (AS) can connect. Interested parties don’t need to be NASS members, and need not have booked a place in the NASS Voices conference to attend this gathering.

The cost to attend NASS Voices is £10, which includes refreshments and lunch. Learn more on the NASS website or contact Lavinia on 020 8741 1515.


FFN UK hip fracture review meeting at Wolfson College, Oxford on 8 May 2019.

This multidisciplinary meeting, supported by the BOA, will bring together the leading experts from orthopaedics, geriatrics, anaesthesia, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation and secondary fracture prevention. However, the emphasis is on discussion and shared-learning, so please bring along your own experiences, suggestions and questions.

The number of places is limited to 120, so please book early by contacting:

Priority will be given to ‘teams’ of attendees i.e. a multidisciplinary team from each hospital is preferred to a single representative.

Confirmed speakers:
Paul Dixon – Introduction
Nick Welch – FFN UK: the patient’s view
Matt Costa – FFN UK
Xavier Griffin – World Hip Trauma Evaluation
James Golding – standardised protocol for hip fracture anaesthesia
Dave Keene – Hip fracture rehabilitation
Karen Hertz – Next steps for nursing patients with fragility fracture
Dom Inman – NHFD update
Faye Wilson – Next steps for Orthogeriatrics
Tim Briggs/Bob Handley – GIRFT update
Paul Dixon – The ‘Frailty’ BOAST

New online infographic posters summarising the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance relevant to allied health professionals are now available online. Produced by the Institute of Osteopathy and endorsed by NICE, these easy to use resources provide a quick reference guide to current NICE guidance which can be printed and displayed in a clinical setting and support CPD.

There are currently three topics available; osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and spondyloarthritis, with plans to develop others in the near future.

The posters translate the NICE guidance into an easy to follow visual format to aid health professionals in primary care to identify and assess for the conditions and provide recommended pathways for care and management.

Matthew Rogers, Professional Development Manager at the Institute of Osteopathy and fellow of NICE, has been leading the project: “As a clinician I am acutely aware of the demands on health professionals to keep up to date with current guidance. As part of my fellowship with NICE I was keen to develop resources that would assist clinicians more easily embed the guidance into practice.”

The infographics are available to download for free from

In early February, ARMA was one of 55 signatories to an open letter published in The Times newspaper from the Association of Directors of Public Health. The letter argued that public health should be a priority in the Spending Review.

ADPH President Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy said:

“Tackling the root causes of ill health and creating places in which we can all be healthy is the mission of local government. If we undervalue this public health expertise within local government, the NHS Long Term Plan simply cannot be delivered.

“Directors of Public Health can provide the leadership needed to drive improvements in the determinants of health – housing, air quality, crime and poverty – alongside community public health services, such as alcohol treatment and stop smoking services, which are just as vital as hospital-based support.

“The significant cuts to public health are jeopardising these efforts, which are so fundamental to population health – and the sustainability of the NHS. It is time for a step change in public health funding and national policy action. This must be a priority for the Spending Review.”

Read the letter on The Times website (pay-wall) or download the statement from the ADPH.


Versus Arthritis is excited to report that over 1,000 people have answered the survey on aids and adaptations.

This has provided us with some really useful evidence, which VA will share with MPs next month in Parliament. Versus Arthritis are organising a drop-in session on 20 March 2019 for MPs across the UK.

At the event, MPs will have a chance to meet people with arthritis, find out about the aids and adaptations that have had a positive impact on their lives, and learn about the obstacles that people have faced in accessing aids and adaptations.

We want as many MPs as possible to attend and learn about how life-changing proper access to aids and adaptations can be, so we’re asking people to contact their MPs and invite them to attend.

VA has drafted both a letter and tweet that can be edited and sent to MPs. A postcode will be used to automatically find the contact details for the correct local MP.

People can email their MP here.

People can tweet their MP here.

Thank you for your help in making the drop-in a success.

You can find out more about Versus Arthritis’ Room to Manoeuvre campaign on aids and adaptations here


Prevention seems to have been the theme of my February. The possibility that a lot of the pain and disability of MSK conditions might be prevented, and that this is being taken seriously is an exciting prospect. Even where the conditions can’t be prevented, good self-management support can make a big difference to the impact of the condition. The Government is clear that the future sustainability of the NHS depends on prevention, and that it wants to improve healthy life expectancy by at least five extra years, by 2035. With MSK conditions the largest cause of years lived with disability, this puts MSK centre stage.

There are two different debates and approaches to prevention. The first is what preventative services we can provide? There are lots of MSK examples – ESCAPE pain, Fracture Liaison Services, Strength and Balance programmes, yoga for healthy backs, weight loss support. Then there is a much broader, whole system approach to prevention. Our health is determined not just by our genetics and personal lifestyle decisions. It’s also about the environment we live in; the food we see advertised; our housing; social networks; how easy it is to walk to the shops if you need to sit down half way to rest; the support you might get from your employer to remain in work; your doctor making it easy for you to find peer support for your condition from a patient group. Public health is everyone’s business.

A physiotherapist speaking at one of the Public Health England regional meetings spoke of his experience of first encountering public health. He had been working in an “NHS Bubble”, unaware that the local authority had staff looking at prevention through a different lens, but with the same objectives. This disconnect is replicated up and down the country. I think the NHS long term plan and the prevention green paper give us an opportunity to join them up. If local government, not just public health, but also planning, housing, transport and environment, aren’t included, we will still be fighting against the wider determinants of health. I think there is a real opportunity with the new Primary Care Networks (PCN), to bring this together. At the moment, the remit of the PCNs is joining up primary, secondary and community healthcare. I think they are also in a great position to also bring in local government and address population health more widely. Smaller than an STP/ICS, they should be more able to look at local relationships and bring together all those who influence the systems that determine our health.

ARMA will be engaging with the implementation of the NHS Long term plan and the development of the Green Paper. We need both approaches for good population MSK health – services and a whole system approach. But the gains could be enormous, both for the NHS and individuals. This is everyone’s business. Let’s work together and see just how big a difference we can make.

We all know that MSK is one of the two biggest causes of sickness absence in the UK. It’s perhaps no surprise that this is even more true in the construction sector. Every year, occupational ill‐health costs construction employers £848million in reduced productivity, sick pay, cover for absence and replacing staff who leave because of ill health. 76% of this relates to MSK conditions. In February, ARMA brought together some key players in the construction sector with stakeholders such as Department for Work and Pensions and Health and Safety Executive, to look at what might be done to improve this situation.

The group discussed a range of issues. Due to the nature of the work people fear speaking out about an MSK problem. This can lead to presenteeism, with loss of productivity, ending when there is a more serious injury, which might have been prevented if treatment had been provided earlier. There is a challenge of getting a message across to a workforce who are mostly on site, and how to make sure the key messages are communicated clearly without bombarding people with information that they can’t take in. It is a complex sector, with major contracting companies, who may not directly employ staff, and large numbers of very small companies who may have little or no occupational health infrastructure.

There will be a report following the meeting – look out for it on the ARMA website soon. Participants will also be taking forward some of the recommendations from the day. We would like to thank Volker Wessels UK, BAM Nuttall, Mace Group and Multiplex Europe for supporting the event.