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MSK now a PHE priority

Morgan, Arthritis Research UK campaigns manager and Debs walking down the street

We know that arthritis can affect every aspect of a person’s life, but many people are never given information on what activities could prevent them developing arthritis, or how to reduce the pain it can cause once they have it and only discover more once they’re in pain and going through the process of being diagnosed. We want more people to understand the contributing factors, but to make this a reality we knew we needed to get Public Health England (PHE) on board.

How have we worked with Public Health England?

Arthritis Research UK and Public Health England have worked together on several different projects over the last five years:

  • Arthritis Research UK worked with Imperial College London to produce and publish data on how many people in each geographical area live with MSK conditions. This information did not exist before hand, and these estimates have helped national and local decision-makers to realise the number of people affected in their local area, and make plans to support them. Arthritis Research UK and PHE then published joint bulletins for local areas on osteoarthritis and back pain, and the data is now available on PHE’s public health profiles website.
  • We brought together a group of senior MSK researchers, representatives from Public Health England, and professional bodies to discuss a public health approach to MSK conditions. From this, a manifesto called ‘Musculoskeletal health: a public health approach’ was created.
  • Arthritis Research UK, PHE, NHS England and the then Department of Health produced a report called ‘Providing physical activity interventions for people with musculoskeletal conditions’ to engage professionals on the benefits of physical activity, and to support local planning and implementation. In support PHE created the Musculoskeletal conditions: return on investment tool (2017), to help local decision makers provide cost-effective interventions for the prevention and treatment of MSK conditions.
  • We ensured the PHE ‘One You’ health promotion programme, included weblinks to our arthritis specific resources.
  • We published ‘Working with Arthritis’ which showcases the evidence for good MSK health at work.
  • We funded two roles at PHE to support their activities on MSK health and make relevant links to show where MSK health could be improved.
  • We contributed to a chapter in ‘All Our Health’ - a PHE resource to support healthcare professionals to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities.

As a result of all this work, we’re delighted that PHE has now prioritised MSK as a public health priority. We will continue to work in partnership with PHE to ensure that people understand the impact of arthritis and the benefits of lifelong good MSK health.

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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.