This is a category taken from the full feed of Musculoskeletal and Arthritis news provided by ARMA's members.


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.

On Monday 8th May 2017 the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) published new advice accepting the restricted use of belimumab (Benlysta) by NHS Scotland for lupus patients. This advice was published following a re-submission with evidence supplied by GlaxoSmithKline (the producers of Benlysta) and LUPUS UK on behalf of patients.


Belimumab is the first drug approved to treat lupus in more than 50 years and is the first drug developed specifically for lupus since the disease was discovered. It is approved for adults with active, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) who are receiving other lupus medicines. It is a biologic therapy, delivered through an intravenous (IV) infusion. It works by reducing certain cells in the immune system that can make lupus active. Belimumab has been shown to modestly improve disease control in patients with SLE when used in addition to standard of care in two phase III studies.


“We are very grateful for the SMC’s new advice approving the restricted use of belimumab by NHS Scotland. This is an important decision because there is an absence of options for the group of lupus patients with high disease activity who do not respond to standard treatment. This also presents another treatment option for some people with lupus who have symptoms that are not adequately controlled by standard treatments alone or who are unable to tolerate the current standard treatments that are available”. Chris Maker, CEO of LUPUS UK.



In the past month LUPUS UK has published updated versions of three of our information leaflets/booklets. These publications were updated to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Information Standard and reflected the most up-to-date evidence.

Physical copies are available to order free of charge from LUPUS UK National Office, or you can read/download them on our website by following the hyperlinks:


Contribution to the Scottish Medicines Consortium’s (SMC) consultation of the use of Benlysta (belimumab) in SLE

Benlysta (belimumab) is due to be discussed by the SMC and a decision made for its use by certain SLE patients in Scotland. LUPUS UK has recently produced a report which it has submitted as evidence to the SMC as a Patient Group Partner. The SMC committee will meet on 4th April 2017 to discuss Benlysta and the decision will be made publicly available approximately five weeks later.

Disease Risk Reduction via Regular Physical Activity
Heart Disease 40%
Stroke 27%
Colon Cancer 25%
Breast Cancer 24%
Type 2 Diabetes 30%
Hypertension 50%
Source:  A Fresh Approach in Practice – NHS North West and the FSEM UK 2011

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) UK has responded to the Scottish Parliament Health and Sport Committee Preventative Agenda Inquiry, emphasising the risk reduction for many common conditions and the cost savings which can be made by greater use of Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) services in the NHS.

The FSEM’s response outlines why Sport and Exercise Medicine is uniquely placed to provide skilled services across both Exercise Medicine and Musculoskeletal Medicine which can vastly improve healthcare outcomes for many common conditions like arthritis, heart disease, cancer and mental health, through working with existing healthcare teams in the NHS.

Over a 10 year period, the NHS Tayside MSK Clinic, a Sport and Exercise Medicine led Musculoskeletal Medicine service running in Scotland, seeing approximately 800 patients per year, has created a £500k – £650k saving through re-directing traditional Orthopaedic referrals.

Read the full news item on the FSEM website

Party conferences

The Arthritis Research UK Policy and Public Affairs team attended the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat party conferences in England and the SNP conference in Scotland. Notable meetings include Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State at the DWP, the Labour shadow health team and Aileen Campbell Minister for Public Health and Sport at Holyrood.

Westminster Hall Debate

The Policy and Public Affairs team, worked to secure the debate to coincide with Share Your Everyday campaign. The parliamentary debate, led by the Strangford MP Jim Shannon, highlighted the pain, isolation and fatigue that millions of people with arthritis live with every day. 15 MPs attended the debate, along with two Government Ministers and a Labour shadow minister. 50 MPs have now signed our ‘Early Day Motion’, calling on MPs to recognise the need to raise awareness of the condition in the run-up to World Arthritis Day, and support Arthritis Research UK’s Share Your Everyday campaign.

Prior to the debate we organised a drop-in session to brief MPs around our key themes of prevent, transform and cure including earlier diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis, and linking fracture liaison services to hospitals.

There were hundreds more people who took part in a Facebook debate we held in the run up to the Parliamentary debate, in partnership with the House of Commons Engagement team. Over 500 people commented in the debate, hosted on our Facebook page, with their comments being passed directly to MPs to read ahead of the event.

Responses can be read here:

Scottish Musculoskeletal Calculator

Arthritis Research UK has had a formal sign-off of the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Calculator for Scotland. The charity commissioned Imperial College London to produce high quality local prevalence estimates for four musculoskeletal conditions: osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis and high risk of fragility fracture.

The prevalence estimates, modelled using Scottish risk factor data, were presented by Imperial College London to senior Scottish stakeholders, including NHS Scotland, Information Services Division and University of Aberdeen. The information generated is a huge step towards filling the data gap and is important for use in local planning of health and care services.

Plans to produce estimates for Wales and Northern Ireland are to follow.

who-care-front-cover89% of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in Scotland say condition affects their daily activities yet unaware of eligibility for help with care and support from their local council.

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), today publishes ‘Who Cares? A report on the health and perceived social care needs of people with rheumatoid arthritis in Scotland’. NRAS conducted a survey of 387 people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), to gain greater understanding of the wider care and support needs of people with RA in Scotland and the factors which contribute to them.

There are nearly 690,000 people across the United Kingdom with RA and 40,000 in Scotland alone. This is expected to rise to over 42,000 by 2020. With the new imperative to integrate health and social care across the UK, it was important for NRAS to explore the prevalence of co-morbidities; the impact of RA on work/occupation and how complex care needs were being met.

Read full press release by clicking here. Go to the Who Cares? Report.

NICE-smallNASS are delighted to hear that NICE has recommended secukinumab (Cosentyx®) as an option for treating active AS in adults whose disease has responded inadequately to conventional therapy (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or TNF-alpha inhibitors).

This recommendation has been published by NICE in what is called a Final Appraisal Determination (FAD). This means that there is still the possibility that an organisation could appeal against the decision. Any appeal must be received by 18 August 2016. However, we hope it will move quickly to become guidance. We will keep you updated.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has also completed its assessment of secukinumab and we are also delighted to report that it has been accepted for use within NHS Scotland. It can now be used in the treatment of active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in adults who have responded inadequately to conventional therapy. 


NASS-2015-logo-squareNASS Chief Executive Debbie Cook said: 
“NASS is delighted that NICE and the SMC have given a positive decision on secukinumab (Cosentyx) for ankylosing spondylitis (AS). At the moment treatment options are very limited for people living with AS and this will offer a new option. We hope that now  people affected by AS will be able to discuss the suitability of both secukinumab and the range of anti TNF therapies with their rheumatologist and decide together which would be the best option for them.”

Secukinumab is NOT an anti-TNF. It is a human monoclonal antibody that selectively neutralises circulating IL 17A. Research shows that IL 17A plays an important role in driving the body’s immune response in psoriasis and spondyloarthritis conditions, including psoriatic arthritis and AS.

You can read the full Scottish Medicines Consortium decision here.

aruk-logo-2015Arthritis Research UK have provided ARMA with the latest draft of this report which summarises the evidence of the benefits of physical activity for people living with arthritis and MSK conditions, and asked for feedback by September 2nd.

The report has been circulated among a wide range of stakeholders including organisations responsible for commissioning and providing local services, as well as MSK physical activity organisations who may also find the document of interest.

We will keep ARMA updated with the progress of the report as it moves towards publication.

Party conferences

Arthritis Research UK will have staff representation at all four major party conferences (Conservative, Labour, SNP & Lib Dem). We will be hosting a roundtable on primary care with CSP at the Conservative party conference.

expo2015dinNHS Expo

Tim Marshall will be attending the NHS Expo conference and joining the ARMA session on the 8th September.

Scottish Policy & Public Affairs

We will be travelling up to Scotland in early September to meet with MSPs to discuss our work on Scottish policy currently focusing on public health and physical activity and where we can work together to improve services for people with arthritis. We will also be attending the NRAS Parliamentary Reception in Holyrood on the 6th September.

Physical activity provision for people with musculoskeletal conditions report

We have provided ARMA with the latest draft of this report which summarises the evidence of the benefits of physical activity for people living with arthritis and MSK conditions and asked for feedback.  The report has been circulated among a wide range of stakeholders including organisations responsible for commissioning and providing local services, as well as MSK physical activity organisations who may also find the document of interest.   We will keep ARMA updated with the progress of the report as it moves towards publication.