The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) are conducting an inquiry into musculoskeletal (MSK) health inequalities this year, and there are a number of ways you can get involved or find out more.
What are MSK conditions?
MSK conditions are health conditions affecting the bones, joints, and/or muscles. According to ARMA, there are around 200 MSK conditions, which includes conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, connective tissue disease, and back pain. In the UK, approximately 10 million adults and 12,000 children have an MSK condition.
ARMA is a UK organisation which brings together patient organisations and professional bodies who work with and for people who have MSK conditions. They aim to work collectively to ensure the voices of people with MSK conditions are heard and MSK health is supported in policy and practice.
Why are they doing this inquiry and what are the aims?
Like most health conditions, MSK conditions do not affect all people equally. Some people are more likely to develop them, they can impact people’s lives differently, and access to support and services can vary across the country and between different groups of people.
This inquiry is focusing particularly on deprivation, because, as ARMA states, “people living in deprived areas experience more chronic pain, are more likely to have a long-term MSK condition, and are more likely to experience worse clinical outcomes and quality of life”.
The three main aims of the inquiry are:
- Gather evidence about inequalities in MSK health and explore underlying reasons.
- Make recommendations about what may help to address the inequalities they find.
- Raise awareness of the issues.
How will the inquiry work?
The inquiry is gathering information from a number of sources. They are:
- asking for evidence from the public and professional contributors, including researchers, clinicians, policy makers, and people with MSK conditions;
- recruiting lived experience and professional expert panels;
- holding oral evidence sessions.
They will then publish a report by the end of 2023.
How can you get involved or submit evidence?
- If you have an MSK condition you can apply for the lived experience panel, and see all the details about what it will involve, HERE. Deadline 27th March 2023.
- Anyone who would like to contribute can submit evidence related to inequalities in MSK health, such as access to services. You can submit evidence and find more details HERE. Deadline Monday 3rd April.
- You will be able to watch the oral evidence sessions, and they will update their website HERE when they have been organised.