Chief Executive's Blog

Walk Your AS Off

I've been counting my steps every day since I got a Fitbit for Christmas. I wear it on my wrist like a watch and it tracks my activity every day, including the number of steps I've taken. My girls will tell you that I've become obsessed with my Fitbit but I haven't, I just find the information it gives me, particularly about my steps and sleep really helpful and often motivating.

Many of you know that I live in North Lincolnshire, nowhere near the NASS office in Hammersmith, London. And so I split my time between days in the office, working from home and doing a lot of travelling around the country, delivering talks, attending AS & You events, visiting branches, hospitals etc etc.

What I've noticed since getting my Fitbit is how few steps I do when I work from home (just to the kettle and back really!) Some days I definitely do not move enough, apart from having to stretch. This has motivated me to actually take a lunch break some days and to try to get out for a little walk, thus bumping up my steps. That little nudge was all I really needed.

And we all know that, even on those very tough, painful days, exercise is good for our arthritis. Even when very stiff and sore, if we try to move, we may improve.

Next month I'll be counting my steps for a great cause `Walk Your AS off` aiming to raise awareness and encourage people with AS to keep moving. You too can get involved. There are two British teams that you can join - The Orange Apples, led by Gillian Eames and Jean Morton, and The AS Buzzers, led by Kathy Miller and Gerry Dance.

It doesn't matter how little or how much you do. Just get involved in the community; give it a try. You don't need a Fitbit, any pedometer will do. If it means going to the end of your garden and back because that's all you can manage, if that's more activity than in your usual day, that's brilliant. There are lots of other ways you can exercise with your AS, take a look.

My Fitbit automatically sets me a target of 10,000 steps a day. I'm sure some days I'll manage that and other days I won't. Main thing is I give it a go. The lighter nights are here, it's the perfect time to do a bit more.

Take care all, Debbie

#GrimsbyisGreat

There's been a lot of talk about the new Grimsby film this week. As many of you will know, although I'm definitely a Derbyshire girl through and through, we've lived near Louth and Grimsby for the last 10 years. Our NASS Grimsby branch is my local branch, based at the Diana Princess of Wales hospital.

Being my local branch I should really go there to exercise and stretch more than I do but my work commitments as NASS CEO often make that difficult.

A couple of weeks ago I paid an 'official' visit. Pete Townsend, a recently appointed NASS Trustee has been attending this branch for many years and he wanted to talk about what more the branch could do.

I love going to our Grimsby branch. We exercised, stretched, chatted and laughed, and we certainly all came away the better for it. Suzie, their physiotherapist has been with the branch a long time and helps create a fabulous, relaxed, friendly environment. Everyone was so welcoming. We finished the session with a spot of Bollywood dancing!

It was great. #GrimsbyisGreat!

The branch misses their hydrotherapy, the pool was closed back in 2011 but they receive great physiotherapy advice at the sessions. The branch has
 recently agreed to make a £500 donation to the hospital in recognition of the service they receive.

Although the branch is quite well attended, clearly they'd like more members. In May, to coincide with NASS' Fab at 40 fortnight, the branch will be hosting an AS awareness evening, hoping to recruit new members. If you live in the area, suffer with axial spondyloarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, keep an eye out for details. If you don't want to wait until then, give the branch a call.

I'll certainly be popping along more often if I get the chance....

Me, and podcasts!

I listened to my first ever podcasts this week! For an oldie (that's how my teenage daughters see me) I've always considered myself 'up-to-date' with social media channels. Hey, at previous rheumatology events I've even been referred to as the 'Twitter queen'! But until this week, podcasts have passed me by.

The first podcast I listened to was Solving Spondyloarthritis, session 26 of the Physio Matters series. Funded by NASS, it is already changing practice. Released last weekend, it's number 1 in sub category Medicine, trending on iTunes. The number of downloads has been overwhelming.

And why am I so thrilled with this podcast? Well, our trustee Dr Karl Gaffney, physiotherapist Jack March and NASS' very own Membership Officer Matthew did a great job, making it very easy listening. This was a great initiative for NASS to support, and it should undoubtedly lead to swifter identification of inflammatory back pain and referrals. It will be another step towards addressing the shocking 8.5 year delay in diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis and axial spondyloarthritis which strikes people in their youth, for life. A huge 'well done' to all involved from me. Thanks for introducing me to podcasts. It's also because of your great session that I went on to listen to another.

The second podcast I listened to was the latest by @marathontalk. I know, I run one 10k for NASS and think I'm Paula Radcliffe! I can assure you I'm about as far away from Paula's greatness that you can get. But I have now committed to running the Great North Run in September for NASS, and so I've got to battle pain and stiffness on my bad days, make the most of the good days and get myself out there, training. I looked to this podcast for inspiration, and I certainly felt inspired listening to the interview with Joe Williams who set up UKRunchat. You can listen to Joe tell his story on the podcast, but if I may I'll just talk about the points that struck me with inspiration. Joe gained inspiration to run 29 10k events in different UK cities over one week to fundraise for his chosen charity. His best friend had sadly lost a child and said 'something good has to come from this' and Joe too has a child with many health needs.

It's people like this that inspire me. I am in a fortunate position, in my role I meet and interact with such amazing folk, out there, fundraising for NASS, making a difference. Every charity needs people like these. Whether raising money, £10 or £10 million or purely raising awareness the spirit of fundraisers is one which I wish I could bottle (and then have a swig before the start of the Great North Run to keep me going:.)

If you would like to join me on the starting line at the Great North Run, NASS is really lucky to have limited charity spaces for the event. To find out how you can get involved, email Amardeep or call us on 020 8741 1515. We'd love to have you on board!

So, I'll be listening to more podcasts in the future. There's so much to learn out there, so many to learn from. So many to inspire us all.

Take care all, Debbie

More can be done about the long delay to diagnosis in axial spondyloarthritis (including ankylosing spondylitis)

A few days ago I attended the British Society for Rheumatology's launch of their work on the Rheumatoid Arthritis and Early Inflammatory Arthritis audit.  6,354 people were included in the audit and it has produced some good data. It shows for example that there are around 1.1 rheumatologists for every 100,000 in the population and there's a huge degree of variation at local level. 

The audit showed that, where Early Inflammatory Arthritis Clinics were in place, people were usually seen quicker - and of course we know in axial spondyloarthritis (including AS), the earlier the diagnosis the better the outcome.

Despite the title of this audit, patients with axial disease (i.e. axial spondyloarthritis and AS) were not included. This is disappointing given that data published in 2015 shows there is still an 8.5 year delay in diagnosis for axial spondyloarthritis. These are young people, in their prime, in pain and they deserve better!

You won't be surprised to learn that I have asked again for axial disease to be included in future audits, for which planning is already in place. The response hasn't been positive but there is an opportunity to redefine the scope of the next audit and so we'll keep pushing for axial disease to be included.

NASS will always be pushing for any measures which will help reduce the delay in diagnosis and result in people with axial spondyloarthritis (including AS) receiving better care. The data produced in audits like this, builds a real case for change, action and improvement.

And what is NASS doing to reduce the delay to diagnosis? Well, you'll be aware of all the work we've done with GPs to date, reaching well in excess of 20,000 GPs. The great news is that we're also funding two new GP e-learning modules at the Royal College of GPs (and the British Society for Spondyloarthritis is also providing some funding and expertise). These modules have the potential to reach 50,000 GPs and many more healthcare professionals. We're really excited about this, and indeed for working with the RCGP.

We have also just funded a physio podcast with Physio Matters which will further help raise awareness of axial spondyloarthritis.

NASS is also about to launch another project aimed at gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists and dermatologists- exciting stuff, but more about that another time. 

Take care all, Debbie

Cuts to benefits for disabled people - the real impact (15 January 2016)

One of my closest friends is disabled. He's in his 40s, has an artificial leg, can walk only with the aid of crutches and has other, numerous health problems. That said, I've known him for over 20 years and he's always worked full-time. He's a wonderful dad to his toddler, and both he and his wife work.

This week he was informed that he was no longer entitled to the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), meaning that he cannot keep his Motability car. Not only has this letter sent him and his wife into complete panic, it has also made him feel bad about himself; he feels like a fraud. This makes me personally very angry. In my whole life I have never met someone more determined despite his disability. Importantly for this blog, he is determined to work.

If he loses his car, he will no longer be able to get to work. If he loses his car, he will no longer be able to take his child to sports practice on a Saturday whilst his wife is at work. These are just a couple of examples. This will have a massive impact on their lives. 

His GP is outraged that this is happening. Anyone who knows him would be outraged. The impact of this decision, this withdrawal of this right to a Motability car has rocked his emotions. His car will be taken away in about 4 weeks if he cannot change this decision, putting him out of a job. 

Every day is challenging for my friend. From working full-time, my friend will likely end up claiming unemployment benefit unless his decision is overturned. We know many people with AS face the same challenges. At NASS we often receive calls on our Helpline from people diagnosed with AS who are concerned about their claim for benefits. In some cases, despite the monumental impact AS has on their lives, they have not been awarded the mobility component of their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim. This has resulted in some members losing their entitlement to their Blue Badge, which has a major impact on their lives.

Why do we have a political system that takes away a legitimate benefit without the slightest concern for the long-term impact on the lives of those in genuine need, as well as the impact on the economy. How can cases like my friend's, and dozens more on our Helpline, be dealt with in this way?

On Wednesday, NASS joined over 140 campaigners at a mass lobby in Westminster Hall to campaign about the latest cuts proposed in the Welfare Reform Bill; cuts to benefits that many disabled people and their families rely on. Your voice matters. Please do tell your MP to stop the cuts to benefits that disabled people need. You can also voice your views on Twitter with #BenefitsLobby. 

If you are concerned about your benefit claim, then there is some good news. A recent survey by Disability Rights UK found that over 47% of all PIP appeals and 52% of ESA had been successfully overturned. For any information on queries regarding claiming for benefits, please contact Matthew as he has written support letters for many NASS members to help with appeals. You can reach Matthew by phone on 020 8741 1515. 

Take care all,

Debbie

Your voice - so important (12 January 2016)

My first blog of 2016! A very Happy New Year to you all, and wishing you a year of improved health, fun and happiness.

You may remember during 2015 NASS surveyed people with AS living in the UK about anti TNF therapy. The data we collected helped us make a good, credible written and verbal submission to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the Multiple Technology Appraisal of anti TNF therapy in AS. We were able to explain why access to these therapies, including the option to switch, was important to people with AS. NICE subsequently praised NASS for the quality of our evidence and we are now just waiting for the official guidance to be published (hopefully next month). We believe it will provide for what we've been asking for - a huge success and much welcomed for people with axial spondyloarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

This shows the power of your voice. Working together we are a strong community with powerful messages; with your help NASS can represent the whole spectrum of axial spondyloarthritis. 

And it's now time for us to seek your views again. NICE is now undertaking what is called a Single Technology Appraisal for secukinumab. This is not a TNF therapy but a  human monoclonal antibody that selectively neutralises circulating IL 17A. Research shows that IL 17A plays an important role in driving the body's immune response in psoriasis and spondyloarthritis conditions, including psoriatic arthritis and AS. If you live in the UK and have a diagnosis of AS we'd really like to hear from you again. I cannot emphasise enough how your voice can make a real difference.

In a few weeks we'll also be sending out our 3-yearly survey all about your care, therapies, medications, work (and more) to help us campaign for improvements across the UK. It was your voice, collected in our 2013 patient survey that helped us campaign successfully for the production of NICE Clinical Guidelines for spondyloarthritis, due out at the end of this year (hopefully!). (I'm attending another 2 day meeting of the guideline development group in Manchester this week and there's so much to discuss!). The views we collect from you in these surveys is invaluable in driving change and improvement in the quality and delivery of your care.

So if you've ever wondered whether completing our NASS surveys is worth it, let me tell you it is. NASS is a listening organisation, we pride ourselves on being in touch with our supporters. We want to know what your issues are anyway, but we'll also use your voice, your views, to campaign for change and improvement. Your voice will count.

Thanks all. Best wishes, as always Debbie

New Year, a time for reflection (28 December 2015)

This time of year we usually tend to reflect on months gone by and what we're planning to do for the forthcoming year.

It's been another busy year for NASS, typified by a wonderful conference in York during the Summer, many great AS and You events for those newly diagnosed and of course the fabulous news from NICE that it is recommending better access to anti-TNF therapy following our extensive survey work and representations made.

Next year is looking bright, shiny and orange for NASS. Our 40th birthday. Wow........ 40 years of supporting people with AS, that's really something to celebrate and be proud of.

The team has a wonderful Members' Day planned in Bath (where NASS was born) on 4 June and a fabulous gala dinner in London on 15 October. We're also looking forward to launching our Fab at 40 Fortnight, giving you the opportunity to get involved in 70s-inspired events this May. All to raise money for a cause close to your heart.

For me personally 2015 was overshadowed by the major neck surgery I had at the end of March. I was pretty low afterwards struggling with the recovery challenges, keen to get back to ‘me' as quickly as possible, but I was overwhelmed by the messages of kindness and support I received. It's often the way isn't it that out of something painful can come something truly wonderful. I also found the whole recovery journey quite inspiring - I wanted to challenge myself to do something I'd never done before after my recovery, which is why I ran a 10k for NASS in November. I've often wondered what drives ours supporters to take on their pain and take on a challenge and now I know why - it was thoroughly enjoyable and so rewarding; to give something back to such a good cause.

Whatever challenges 2016 brings for you, I hope there will be something bright at the end. We'll be celebrating all that's great about 40 years of NASS as well as delivering a revised Back to Action App, a whole new section of NASS aimed at younger people and much, much more. Do join us, join in whenever you can.

Wishing you a happy, healthy new year. Take care all. Best wishes, Debbie

The real buzz of doing something for charity (11 November 2015)

After our second daughter was born, over 10 years ago I did the Race for Life to raise funds for Cancer Research. I cried all the way around the course pretty much, as I read the tributes on the runners' t-shirts. It was an emotional but hugely rewarding experience.

What happened to me in the decade after that? Busy family life, work demands, pain. My neck pain has overwhelmed me these last few years but following surgery earlier this year, (touch wood), it's much better and I can cope better with my inflammatory pain.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't done nothing for charity in that time - I've had a couple of coffee mornings during those years, raising much-needed charity funds but nothing to really challenge me. And for me personally, I needed a challenge, I had to prove to myself that 'pain' would not define me.

Fast forward to last Saturday. And woo hoo, my daughter Scarlet and I ran the Robin Hood 10k trail run. I've raised over £200 for NASS (it`s not too late to donate) and Scarlet has raised over £400 for Myeloma UK. What a fun time we had, covered in mud and soaked to the skin, and both of us were emotional at the end of the run (we're a bit like that :.)), at the thought both of what we'd achieved but also what we'd managed to raise for worthwhile charities. The buzz was immense. I'm hooked!

What I'm basically saying is this; whether it's a sponsored walk, a coffee morning, a swim, you name it, the list of what you can do to raise funds for charity is endless. It's SO rewarding. And next year is a great time to go that extra mile for NASS. We're going to be 40. That's 40 years of supporting people with this horrible condition that steals good days from families. We can only continue what we do with your support. And you'll feel fantastic afterwards, knowing that your efforts helped make our work possible. Do give it some thought - I promise it'll make you feel good.

Thanks to those that have sponsored me so far, I am very grateful. Take care all.

Debbie

A new challenge for me (3 November 2015)

When I had surgery on my neck at the end of March it tested me both physically and mentally. I completely underestimated beforehand what impact the surgery would have on me and for how long.

A few weeks after the surgery I began to focus less on the discomfort and more on what I wasn't able to do that I thought I'd be able to do by then. I'd lost a lot of my independence; I was unable to walk very far, I couldn't drive, I was very tired. I became quite low.

Recognising my decline I tried to focus on the future. I'd had nerve-related pain in my neck and arms for 6 years prior to my surgery. I've had lower back for the last 20+ years. I decided that I'd lost enough of my life to pain. I'd spent too much time getting upset about what I couldn't do. Having this surgery and 'sorting out my neck pain' had to be worth it. I decided that once I was much better I would make up for lost time.

Whenever I have a flare I secretly chastise myself for not doing enough exercise.I was told by my rheumatologist back in the 90s that I must do some exercise every day. I decided during my recovery that not doing enough exercise would be a thing of the past.

So, now that I'm fit and well ( still get very tired easily and am having a few, albeit much more minor nerve-related symptoms) I've joined the gym and I'm challenging myself, to make up for those years of 'time lost to pain'. Now that my neck pain has eased I find that I cope better with my other pain. My challenge will be to run the Robin Hood 10k on Saturday to fundraise for NASS. I'm no runner so this is a big deal for me. But I'm going to do it.

If you want to sponsor me and support NASS you can text NASS76 plus any amount (e.g. NASS76 £2) to 70070 or visit my JustGiving page. THANK YOU!

And as for the exercise I've been doing, mainly walking, I'm sure it's helping with my pain. Even when I'm in pain I force myself to do a bit and it helps.

Take care all, Debbie

NASS in Northern Ireland (20 October 2015)

When I joined NASS back in the Summer of 2011 it quickly became apparent to me that our physiotherapy branch network was something to be proud of; but it needed further support and development. We immediately set about doing this with our Branch Development conferences in 2012, and since then the network has gone from strength to strength.

What was missing from our branch network however was branches in Northern Ireland (NI). In fact, what was missing from NASS generally was specific work in NI.

We set about putting that right, but it took us a while to secure the funding. Then it took much longer than we'd expected to build some momentum to get things done there.

But, the waiting is now over. It's taken time but last week we finally delivered some great events in NI. On Friday we organised an AStretch physiotherapy course and saw 55 physiotherapists complete a one-day training course learning all about axial Spondyloarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. That's 55 physios out there looking to identify inflammatory back pain early, a must,given the current 8.5 year delay in diagnosis. On Friday evening we hosted an event where people interested in setting up physio branches in NI could attend to put the foundations in place to do so. This was quickly followed with a Patient Conference on the Saturday which saw over 120 people attend and resulted in further enthusiasm for a NI branch network.

All in all it was a fantastic couple of days. Thankfully for me it meant that I finally got to deliver on the commitment I made to people with AS in NI; to deliver a conference there and undertake some development work and have a NASS presence in NI.

Thanks to Jill and Laura especially, but all of team NASS for putting so much effort into making the events so successful. Thanks to all the physios, people with AS, their friends and families that came along, and thanks to our wonderful speakers. There's still more to be done in NI but we've made a great start.

Take care all

World Arthritis Day, why do NASS get involved? (12 October 2015)

It's quite likely that, if you engage on social media that you'll notice that there are many days dedicated to a particular cause. World Sight Day, World Aids Day, there are many. Today, 12 October is officially World Arthritis Day.

So why does NASS get involved? Well, ankylosing spondylitis and axial spondyloarthritis (AS) are forms of inflammatory arthritis. But it's so much more than that. Today is a day where we get to make an extra contribution to raising awareness about AS.

Raising awareness has been a priority for NASS for the 4.5 years that I've been with NASS and it continues to be. Why? Because we should live in a world where AS is as recognisable as MS. We should live in a world where people understand that AS is more than back ache! NASS wants a world where people understand it's about pain, fatigue, stiffness, good days and bad days, high and lows, exercise and stretching to keep as well as possible. People need to understand that it's a disease that affects everyone differently. And of course we need to raise awareness to get the delay in diagnosis down from 8.5 years. (And as you know, NASS is also doing a lot of work with GPs too in this regard).

So, please do use #WorldArthritisDay as your chance to do your bit to raise awareness. Share our articles on Facebook with your friends and family too. If they take time to read, they'll be better informed and more understanding of an invisible illness.

World Arthritis Day is also a great day for us to give something back to you all in recognition of your support, your NASS membership, your fab NASS fundraising. So today we are launching our Care Coordinating Tool - My Plan for Life - for you to download and use, helping improve the services you receive. We've worked on this plan with other musculoskeletal charities. We're also launching a brand new video advising on our Top Tips for living well with AS. Again, why not share this on Facebook and Twitter to give your loved ones a better understanding of what you need to do daily just to manage your condition.

Take care all and Happy World Arthritis Day :.)

Invisible Illness (6 October 2015)

Last week we were talking about invisible illness on social media and our post on Facebook went down really well because so many of you understand the problem of people assuming you're OK because, well, you can't 'see' pain.

Recently I was talking to a friend who was expressing her disappointment that people don't have manners like they used to. My friend had seen an elderly lady board a bus with a much younger woman, and due to lack of seats the elderly lady had stood up giving the younger woman a seat. My friend was shocked at this. I advised that perhaps the younger woman had an invisible illness, something like AS or rheumatoid arthritis that could not be seen. My friend reflected, this wasn't something she had considered.

And it is so easily done. How many of us have seen someone using the disabled parking bays and silently passed judgement that 'they don't look like they have a disability'?

There's still so much to do to raise awareness about invisible illness like AS, and of course NASS will do all it can to build a public understanding of a what it's like to live with a condition like AS and the impact it has on your everyday lives.

Raising awareness remains a key priority for NASS and is embedded within our 5-year strategy. If you ever want to do your own bit locally to raise awareness you can contact us for a press release and we'll help you to tell your story.

Take care all, Debbie x

Good news and a busy week....(15 September 2015)

I want to get back to letting you know what I'm up to in this blog but first I can't miss the opportunity to tell you how thrilled I am about the recent NICE announcement. NASS campaigned really hard to achieve this outcome for patients and we are over the moon with the improved options this new guidance offers patients. I'd go as far to say that this NICE news is the best thing I've been a part of achieving in the 4.5 years at NASS and I've been thrilled to see the response of our supporters on our Facebook page.

So, what I am up to this week on your behalf? Well, this week is a busy one. I will leave home on Wednesday morning and I won't get back until Saturday night.

Wednesday and Thursday this week will see me attending an annual spondyloarthritis event in Birmingham. I've been lucky enough to be asked to speak at the event every year since I was appointed and on Wednesday it will be a privilege to address a room full of rheumatologists, physiotherapists, nurses, researchers, all with a special interest in apondyloarthritis. It's a great opportunity for me to talk about the new initiatives that NASS is leading and ensure that our information is reaching their patients.

On Thursday night I'll be attending a National Voices even in London to discuss the healthcare system, learn about good practice and network with other organisations.

I get to spend some time in the NASS office on Friday morning, meeting the team to talk about next year's exciting plans and then opening a Trustee induction event for our four new trustees. I'll be heading off to Bath in the afternoon to talk AS with MP for Bath, Ben Howlett.

Saturday morning is a full NASS Council of Management meeting in Bath where I'll be talking to our trustees about our strategic plan, GP education and our 40th birthday celebrations next year amongst many other things.

Phew, I'm exhausted just talking about it. But, it's really important that you know what I'm up to - it's your charity after all.

Take care all. Best wishes, Debbie

Another first for NASS - You said, we listened and we did.... (1 September 2015)

I'm writing this on my way to Edinburgh. It's 1 September and marks the start of a really busy month for NASS. Today we are holding our first ever Scottish Patient Conference. This conference is an event that our Scottish members have been asking for, for a while and something I promised we would deliver if we could secure the funding. We have, and it's today. We've got some great speakers lined up and a packed event. I'm really looking forward to meeting so many there.

We're also holding an event in the Scottish Parliament tonight. Diagnosis times are still too long, hydrotherapy in Scotland is under threat and Scottish Members of Parliament need to know what it's like to live with ankylosing spondylitis (axial Spondyloarthritis (AS). MEPs need to know the landscape for patients AS_it_is.

At the weekend we've got our Jurassic Trek event on the Dorset coast. Thanks to everyone taking part, including two NASS Trustees Grant and Ben, all raising much-needed funds so that we can continue our work.

Next week I'll be in Manchester for a 2-day NICE Guideline Development Group; you'll recall we campaigned for Clinical Guidelines in 2013; we are hoping that these Guidelines once produced by NICE will lead to earlier diagnosis and improved care for people with AS.

I'll fill you in on our other September activities another time. Bye for now.

Take care all, Debbie

It's time that we valued hydrotherapy more - #splash4hydro (24 August 2015)

Many of you will have experienced the benefits of hydrotherapy both in terms of managing your condition or indeed as intense therapy during a flare up. At NASS we hear all the time how much hydro helps you and indeed people with many other conditions and disabilities.  So why does it feel like hydrotherapy is so vulnerable within our healthcare system?

When I joined NASS, the Grimsby branch had just lost their hydro pool. Since then we've lobbied hard aiming to prevent further closures, with mixed results. Currently, we are extremely concerned about plans to close hydrotherapy pools in Lothian, Scotland.

This just doesn't make any sense to me! Research into the benefits of hydrotherapy show that it is more effective than land based exercise and I know from what you've told me that hyrdotherapy works for you. There's no doubt in my mind that those who access regular hydro and physiotherapy will not be presenting so frequently in both primary and secondary care clinics for further costly intervention. Such therapy is very likely to be saving money in the long term, be keeping people active, likely remaining in work. Every week, hundreds of people access such therapy at our NASS branches, taking responsibility, self managing their condition, making much use of this vital provision.

I worked in local government for 22 years before I became CEO at NASS.  During that time I saw some great services closed or ceased only for them to be reinstated several years later because the decision had proven short sighted. Let's not make the same mistake with hydrotherapy pools. Whilst they may be costly to run, inevitably they are likely saving money on the health budget and keeping people active and contributing to the economy.

Join our Twitter campaign #splash4hydro and keep the benefits of hydrotherapy in the spotlight - thank you.

Take care all

Debbie

Chief Executive

Debbie Cook