MSK leading the way

by Sue Brown, CEO, ARMA

It’s been fantastic over the last few months to work with ARMA members to rise to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic. We now have to rise to a new challenge – resetting MSK services to be more personalised and to use shared decision making to ensure people receive the right treatment efficiently and effectively. ARMA’s vision for MSK and that discussed at the NHS England MSK leadership meetings are remarkably similar. Making that vision a reality will take the combined effort of all of us. ARMA has been working to ensure that we are up to the task.

We’ve introduced a new associate membership scheme to bring a wider range of stakeholders under our umbrella, whilst maintaining our role as the voice of patients and professionals. Our members are also launching new initiatives, like the Gold Standard Time to Diagnosis from the National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS) and the Versus Arthritis Impossible to Ignore Campaign. And for those of you who value our newsletter and webinars and have been asking how you can support us, we have launched a new supporter scheme.

Our conference in November will be a showcase for innovation before and during the pandemic. Read more about all these initiatives in this newsletter.

We will continue to enable our members to collaborate, to share information and expertise, to influence and promote good practice. We will continue to engage constructively with the many NHS workstreams aimed at driving forward improved MSK services. We will also challenge where we feel direction is not right, where patients are not listened to, where services are not personalised, when the right support isn’t available. We will continue to champion excellent MSK care wherever we find it.

At our AGM in July, ARMA members discussed what priorities we should focus on in future. Discussions ranged across ARMA as a patient voice, rehabilitation, a holistic approach to MSK health – physical and mental – and the critical importance of ensuring MSK is not forgotten in the restarting of services post-Covid. We also discussed diversity and what ARMA should be doing to highlight and address health inequalities.

I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can take this. We need to do more than ensure that MSK is not forgotten. We need to see MSK leading the way.