CEO update – New Year’s resolutions

Happy New Year to all our readers.

As I write this, everyone is talking new year’s resolutions and I’m thinking about resolutions for ARMA and the MSK community.

ARMA is seeing the new year in with the start of a new strategy. We’re resolving to use this to make our work more focused and more effective, with an emphasis on collaboration and engagement. We hope that you will resolve to collaborate and engage with us. Our strength is in our membership, supporters and stakeholders – it’s by working together that we can bring about change.

I’d like to suggest a few new year’s resolutions for others.

NHS England – to recognise the importance of musculoskeletal health for the NHS, patients and the economy and work to ensure it gets the priority it deserves.

Public health – everyone involved in prevention and public health in the NHS, local government and the voluntary sector to engage with the Public Health England MSK programme, because MSK health underpins every other aspect of health.

CCGs – to stop rationing joint replacement surgery according to criteria with no clinical bases, such as BMI thresholds and pain scores.

Clinicians – to do more to address the mental health needs of patients, especially during January.

Why especially January? Many of your patients will have struggled over Christmas. There is pressure to get in the festive spirit, shop for presents, cook elaborate meals, smile, laugh, enjoy yourself. I spent time with several people experiencing pain and long-term conditions over Christmas, so I know how much of a challenge this can be, how easily it can lead to feelings of guilt or inadequacy.

That’s why in 2019 ARMA will be focusing on mental health and what can be done to improve support for people with long term MSK conditions. We’ll be working to get some of the recommendations in our position statement on mental health implemented.

January is a month when we can all feel a bit down, but it’s even harder if you had an MSK condition. So, let’s all resolve to think more about mental health and MSK.

There’s no health without MSK health, and no MSK health without mental health.

I’m looking forward to working with you all to make a difference.