When people are scared they do one of two things – reach out for support and support others, or look after number one. We’ve seen lots of examples of both recently. ARMA members have chosen the first approach. They’ve been sharing information, working together to solve some common problems such as how to advise healthcare professionals working in private practice.
I take my hat off to our patient members organisations who have faced a huge increase in calls to helplines. As NHS services feel the pressure it is getting hard for them to provide their usual advice and people are turning to patient organisations for support. Many rheumatology patients are at higher risk and people need support to work out if they should be self-isolating or shielding, or need advice and reassurance about their medication. I hope that government will soon announce support for charities losing income during the outbreak, in the same way they have for businesses.
NHS England, Public Health England and professional bodies have been rapidly producing guidance on how to respond in a rapidly moving situation. It can sometimes be hard to keep track, or to find the document you want amongst the rest. ARMA has produced a page on our website that has links to the resources most relevant for our sector. This newsletter includes a much longer list of resources.
In the coming weeks we will do what we can to support everyone in the MSK community and deliver any of our core work that is appropriate. We held a webinar on Paediatric rheumatology: lived experience and psychological needs. The recording is now available to watch whenever you have time.
Just before Covid-19 took over our work, ARMA was planning a conference on November 30th, Working Together, focussed on multi-disciplinary and cross system working in MSK. It will be an exciting day and I look forward to seeing some of you there. Meanwhile we are all working together to get through this.