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21 Mar 2024

ARMA report on MSK Health Inequalities and Deprivation has landed: what this means for the future and how to get involved

ARMA report on MSK Health Inequalities and Deprivation has landed: what this means for the future and how to get involved

What does the report contain? 

Across 2023, the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) conducted an inaugural national enquiry into the disparities in MSK health in relation to areas of deprivation. Whilst it had already been identified that individuals in deprived areas are more susceptible to developing MSK conditions earlier and experiencing more severe clinical complexities, the enquiry aimed to highlight areas of particular concern and provide recommendations for change and improvement moving forwards. 

The report highlights the root causes of health inequalities related to MSK conditions, attributing only a portion of the issue to healthcare services while emphasizing broader social and economic factors such as poverty, education, employment, and environmental influences. It stresses the importance of understanding the multifaceted challenges faced by individuals from deprived areas in managing their conditions amidst competing priorities like securing basic needs. 

To address these disparities, ARMA suggests various strategies for healthcare services, including community-based approaches, co-production of services, data-driven interventions, and early action to improve accessibility and outcomes for individuals from deprived backgrounds. It also underlines the particular challenges faced by paediatric MSK services and advocates for tailored support strategies, further recognizing the impact of managing multiple long-term conditions concurrently. 

Additionally, it emphasises the need for high-quality clinical encounters, highlighting the importance of staff training to effectively engage with individuals from deprived areas, considering their understanding, capacity to manage their conditions, and competing priorities. Overall, ARMA highlights the imperative for comprehensive, community-centred approaches to mitigate MSK health inequalities, emphasising collaboration and proactive interventions at various levels of healthcare delivery. 

Read the full report here: https://arma.uk.net/msk-health-inequalities-equality/#read_the_report  

How can you make a difference? 

This year’s MSK Conference programme, co-located with Therapy Expo, 27-28 November 2024, will aim to provide clinicians, line managers, senior leaders, strategic leaderships, and commissioners with practical solutions to reducing the health inequalities outlined in the report. These can be implemented across the sector make a real difference to the discrepancies in MSK health.  

With the theme ‘Health Inequalities: Closing the Gap’, the MSK Conference programme looks to highlight the importance of collaboration across MSK health, exploring innovative projects at local and national levels, and providing an opportunity to share knowledge, current evidence, case studies, and experience across the board.  

MSK multi-professionals have a significant role to play in bridging the gap between current practice and policy and can contribute to delivering a more equitable health system and healthier communities collaboratively for the future MSK provision. 

Come along to Therapy Expo and the MSK Conference 2024 to further your learning and help address MSK health inequalities with the support of your community.  

Register NOW for your ticket: https://www.therapyexpo.co.uk/arma-report

The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance – Official Partners of the MSK Conference 2024 

The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) is the alliance providing a collective voice for the arthritis and MSK community in the UK. Their vision is that MSK disorders are a priority in policy and practice in the UK. Currently, they have 40 member organisations, ranging from specialised support groups for rare diseases to major research charities and national professional bodies. ARMA works collectively and collaboratively with their members and partners, to improve standards of care for people with arthritis and other MSK disorders. 

In September 2021, ARMA held a roundtable event with multiple stakeholders including the CSP and the MACP to address tackling health inequalities. Following on from the roundtable, in February 2023, ARMA launched an inquiry into MSK health inequalities to set out the evidence for inequalities in MSK health related to deprivation and possible underlying reasons, proposed actions both in design and delivery of MSK services and actions to address wider determinants of health and prevention. The results from this critically important enquiry will be addressed in this year’s MSK Conference programme.  

For further information about ARMA, please visit: https://arma.uk.net 

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