March has been a busy month for ARMA. I have enjoyed meeting so many ARMA members, finding out more about what you do and how ARMA fits with your current priorities. I really welcome the level of support you have offered me in my new role as I begin to get an understanding of the priorities of the MSK community.
The highlight of the month must be the three joint ARMA/NHS England regional events. These have been a huge success. All three events were over-subscribed, showing the high level of interest in improving musculoskeletal services locally. A range of speakers, including ARMA members, outlined key issues and good practice examples. This was followed by roundtable discussions in STP footprints about what needs doing in each local area. Participants completed forms to pledge what action they will take as a result. Looking through these, it is clear that the events will make a real difference with people promising to look at implementing good practice they had heard about, meet commissioners, set up collaborative groups, review all MSK services and focus on prevention, amongst other things. We will be following up these pledges to encourage progress and see what support we can provide. Look out for further events in Manchester on 16 May and in the south. I’m really looking forward to seeing what changes happen as a result.
The other news to highlight is the inclusion in the NHS Mandate of a commitment to “identify opportunities for regular collection of data about incidence, prevalence, clinical activity and outcomes of musculoskeletal patients and services in England.” (Para 7.3) We will be looking at what the MSK community can do to make sure this commitment becomes a reality.
What this activity shows is how important it is for us to work together on issues of common concern. No individual organisation could have the impact that we all have together. Nationally we can’t deliver change without working in partnership with those who deliver services locally. With that in mind, I am looking forward to seeing what April brings.