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New Strategy for People with Arthritis

New Strategy for People with Arthritis


In a unique collaboration, Arthritis Care has joined the Department of Health in producing a patient's guide to the new Musculoskeletal Services Framework for England, which was launched on 31 October.

Arthritis Care welcomes the services makeover which aims to improve the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, addressing their health and social care needs more holistically, and bringing services closer to home.

If fully implemented, the framework should re-shape frontline services for people of all ages, having a significant impact on the care of a child newly-diagnosed with arthritis, or of an older person with osteoporosis receiving support for self-management.

‘We'll be monitoring it closely, of course, but if implemented effectively, this framework could provide better, quicker and more continuous care for people of all ages with arthritis, improve their experience of the NHS, and their quality of life' said Arthritis Care chief executive, Neil Betteridge who joined health minister Andy Burnham MP at today's launch.

At the heart of the new framework is a triage system designed to identify those people whose needs could be answered by local services, and those requiring a hospital referral.

‘It's a one-stop shop - for assessment, diagnosis, treatment or referral to other specialists. We're promised it will be local and multidisciplinary, so people will see a range of appropriate clinicians, and should receive continuity of care and prompt attention. That's vital where swift intervention can prevent fresh joint damage', said Mr Betteridge.

In planning the new framework, the Department of Health consulted user and support organisations like Arthritis Care to try to ensure that the changes are patient-centred and patient-led, truly reflecting people's needs.

‘Arthritis Care represents some 70,000 people living with arthritis, so we see the patient's view and hear the patient's voice. Arthritis Care ran three focus groups for the Department of Health, involving people with all kinds of musculoskeletal conditions. They identified obstacles between them and those services they felt suited them best', said Kate Llewelyn, Arthritis Care's head of information services.

‘For starters, people wanted direct access to the right health professional at a suitable time - why must you go through your GP just to get a new referral to a physiotherapist, when one quick visit to the physiotherapist might hit the spot?', said Ms Llewelyn, ‘Access to the right care, from the right person, at the right time - the time that benefits the patient most - is now at the core of the framework.'

To raise awareness of the revamp, and to assist patients in navigating their way round new services, Arthritis Care was asked by the Department of Health to develop and co-produce a jargon-busting guide to the framework, Information for People with Bone and Joint Problems: Getting the most from your local health service.; Source: Arthritis Care

- Click here for the Musculoskeletal Framework booklet for people with arthritis:


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