Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance

I have just returned from the British Orthopaedic Association centenary congress, where ARMA had a session on integrated pathways for orthopaedics. One thing that struck me about the event was the recognition of the importance of multi-disciplinary working. There were significant numbers of delegates who were not orthopaedic surgeons, particularly physiotherapists. A session I attended on hip fracture covered the crucial role of physios in rehabilitation.

It is easy to understand how any professional can become focused on their part of the pathway, delivering the surgery or the rehab to a high standard. But that’s not how patients experience the system. In Greater Manchester, by ensuring a co-ordinated approach across the MSK pathway, they have improved the patient experience. For instance, for knee surgery the number of hospital visits has been reduced from 8 to 3 and the time in the pathway from 12 months to 3 months. You might be surprised by the range of professionals involved, for instance: the fire service assessing fall risks when visiting homes to advise on fire safety.

ARMA is all about collaboration, seeing the value of working together, the power of combining the perspectives of patients alongside a range of professionals. We hope that the NHS ten-year plan will also recognise both MSK, and the importance of a multidisciplinary pathway approach to supporting people with MSK conditions. If you are interested in finding out more about MSK pathways and how to set them up, our forthcoming webinar: Everything you wanted to know about setting up a Musculoskeletal Service but were afraid to ask! Is for you. Register free.

As always, ARMA members will be collaborating this month to increase awareness of MSK during Bone and Joint Week 2018. I’ve had a preview of the infographics for this year and they look great. With a lot of our members using social media during the week this is a great opportunity for us to support each other. Last year we demonstrated just how much we can amplify our key messages when we all work together. See the article in this newsletter for details of how you can take part this year and make an even bigger impact.

Finally, I’d like to welcome a “new” member to the ARMA community. Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care, both long-standing ARMA members, have merged to form a new charity: Versus Arthritis. We look forward to their continued involvement and the value we can bring to each other. 

As Peter Kay, NHSE National Clinical Director for MSK, said at our recent event: for many people with MSK conditions, the pathway is their whole life. That’s a complex challenge, and not one anyone can solve alone; together we can make a real difference.

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