by Sue Brown, CEO ARMA
Here we are back in lockdown, with the NHS under even more pressure and MSK services severely impacted. COVID-19 response is still dominating the work of ARMA, although we are also progressing plans for other work in 2021. There are some different issues for MSK this time around, and vaccination currently dominates our work. When some people with MSK conditions are vaccinated, the timings of MSK treatment may need to be considered.
I am delighted that ARMA can host a document setting out the principles for these timing decisions. It’s a webpage, not a download, as we are keeping it regularly updated as evidence and advice changes. Keep referring back to our site to ensure you are using the most up-to-date information.
Many people have had appointments and treatment cancelled, both in hospital and in community services. It is important that people receive good communication in this situation, including some indication of what to do while they wait. These recently published resources around patient communication were designed for hospital treatment but I think equally applicable for community services. Everyone understands the need for the NHS to respond to the pandemic. But they are also waiting, in pain, and they need to know when the NHS will be able to see them again.
ARMA continues to bring our members together to share intelligence and information about the impact of the pandemic on people with MSK conditions. We continue to bring this information into the way NHS England, with MSK stakeholders, is responding to the crisis. We continue to bring together all the important resources for MSK in relation to the pandemic onto one page on our website. This collaboration has given people with MSK conditions a voice in the face of very challenging times. This collaboration is growing; most recently Physio First has decided to join us and become part of this powerful voice for MSK.
We will continue work in this way to support the response to the pandemic for as long as it is needed. I look forward to a time when we can focus this voice on the challenge of building excellent MSK services after COVID without the risk of another surge, another lockdown. A time when the collaboration between NHS England, ARMA and many other MSK stakeholders can be directed at improving MSK services. As Clare Jacklin of NRAS says in her excellent blog, (do read it), I don’t want to go back, I want to look forward.
I want us all to look forward together.