Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance

Giving GPs the Tools

by Garreth

On the 30th November 2017, the HMSA launched its ‘Giving GPs the Tools’ campaign! Click here to see the poster, full size.

With funding for UK healthcare held by GPs, a good relationship with your GP based on working in a partnership, is vital. They are the gateway to access any specialist services and interventions we may need. Yet time and time again, the HMSA hears about negative experiences. Positive management of the conditions the HMSA supports, needs to involve a well-informed GP working in partnership with their patient.

The vast majority of hypermobility spectrum disorders can, and should, be diagnosed by a GP. The diagnosis is not necessarily a complicated one and is fairly quick to do but too often GPs aren’t aware, or confident on this point. Some feel under-qualified to make such a diagnosis. Some GPs don’t even know that such a diagnosis exists. We can’t, realistically, expect GPs to know everything about everything but we can, and should, expect a GP to investigate potential diagnoses and at least research conditions of patients that they have on their lists. Especially, considering that the majority of hypermobility syndromes are genetic which could mean several generations are affected within one family. That is just good practice. A lot of GP practices have a GP with ‘an interest’ in musculoskeletal conditions. While this does not make them a ‘specialist’, it usually means that they have had a little extra training and does suggest that they maybe the best person to see people from our community. That is great if you can choose who you see in your practice. Many of us can’t; we have to see the GP whose list we are on, or happen to have an appointment available.

The diagnostic criteria for common hypermobility spectrum disorders can be found on our website

Once GPs do make that diagnosis, they often do not know how, or where, to start in the management of the varied systemic issues we can face. The HMSA supports this process by providing information and resources to all types of professionals, especially GPs and their patients. Increasingly, we are being contacted by GPs and other professionals for advice on management of the conditions that come under our umbrella, but we need to do more!

Just one of the HMSA’s aims throughout this campaign is to provide a resource section for GPs (and other health and medical professionals) on our website. This resource will enable GPs to find out exactly what they could be doing to meet the needs of their patients.

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