One thing we seem very good at in the MSK world is identifying examples of good practice. The NHSE/ARMA regional events have showcased a raft of excellent initiatives which make better use of NHS resources whilst also improving patient care. What is often harder to achieve is spreading that good practice.

Last week I attended a conference on delivering sustainable healthcare, which focused on why this is so difficult and what we can do to improve it. All very relevant to MSK improvement. So when the Government’s Improving Lives: The Future of Work, Health and Disability paper was published last week, it was great to see a strong focus on MSK, including research and evidence base. But I would have liked to see more on spreading existing good practice. Yes, continuing to develop our understanding of what good looks like is valuable, but we also need to start embedding what we already know works. I hope that when the Improving Lives challenge fund is launched next year it will encourage projects that look at spread as well as new interventions.

ARMA has exciting plans for next year which aim to do just this, including the Knowledge Hub which is acknowledged in the Improving Lives paper. We will also be supporting people in local networks who are trying to drive improvement through the next steps of our NHSE/ARMA Clinical Networks project. The message of the conference was that embedding good practice requires people on the “front line” to be empowered to work together. That’s exactly what our work will support – virtually through the hub and in person on the ground through our STP networks.

I’m looking forward to working with ARMA members and with some of the readers of this newsletter to show that together we can make a real difference for people with MSK conditions, enabling them to live their lives to the full.

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