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Care planning and musculoskeletal health

Our care planning report looks at the benefits of self-management for people with musculoskeletal conditions

Many people live with the painful and fluctuating symptoms of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions for decades. Musculoskeletal health is also an important contributor to overall health and wellbeing, and symptoms including limited mobility and pain exacerbate the impact of other long-term conditions.

Care planning can enable people to self-manage their condition, and to identify actions they can take to improve their own health. During care planning, people discuss their full range of needs with one or more health professionals and with their family and carers, and identify and set out goals.

Despite the NHS commitment to offer everybody with a long-term condition a personalised care plan, our work has found that just 12% of people with a musculoskeletal condition currently have one. There is an opportunity to ensure that many more people with a musculoskeletal condition are able to benefit from a care planning approach.

Care Planning and Musculoskeletal Health November 2014Our report includes calls for:

  • systems to deliver care planning to be designed to include those with musculoskeletal conditions and to identify and address musculoskeletal needs in patients with any long-term condition
  • professional bodies to ensure that the continued training of healthcare professionals involved in care planning includes core musculoskeletal skills.

Download Care planning and musculoskeletal health (PDF 1.46 MB).

The report builds on the outputs of a policy workshop we held in 2013 to consider and help to define the care planning process in relation to musculoskeletal conditions.

Download Care planning workshop programme (PDF 111 KB) and Care planning workshop presentations (PDF 4 MB).

Arthritis Research UK policy


We're working to ensure that government policy meets the needs of people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.


 Find out how.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.