CEO update: Change is possible

The NHS England BestMSK Health Collaborative has been making great progress during July. It’s fantastic to see the amount of focus that MSK is getting and the fact that the work is about systems, not individual services. If you haven’t already, I would urge you to sign up to the NHS Futures site so that you can access the resources and see progress. The latest publication is a High Impact Strategy with a series of recommendations spanning primary, secondary and community, and every MSK speciality. This is aimed at anyone in a leadership role in MSK services at any level. You don’t need to wait for this to cascade down to your service. Sign up, take a look and get involved.

One thing I love about BestMSK Health is the focus on the system. There are a lot of recommendations in the strategy and together they recognise the interdependencies. You should easily be able to find recommendations that are relevant to you. It’s also important for you to know how they fit with others, and that others are doing their bit to make the system work better as a whole.

Another thing I love about BestMSK Health is the way it puts people living with MSK conditions at the centre and emphasises the importance of co-production. It’s important that this aspect of the work also thinks about systems, not just individual services. Integration should not be about one service communicating effectively with another. If patients don’t experience MSK services as a seamless, joined up whole then integration has not happened. The Kings Fund have produced a useful guide with lots of practical steps on how to listen to patients and communities about systems, not just services.

ARMA’s vision is that people’s MSK health is promoted throughout their lives, and that those who do have an MSK condition receive quality support in a timely manner. We were a long way from that before the pandemic. You could argue that we are even further away now, but I think we are moving much more clearly in the right direction. I am proud of the role ARMA is playing in this work. It will not happen without all of us, every organisation, individual, service and system, believing that change is possible and taking the first steps.