All Party Parliamentary Group for Axial Spondyloarthritis

What is an APPG?

All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that meet, relatively informally, to discuss a particular issue of concern. Groups are made up of parliamentarians from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Whilst APPGs have no formal place in the legislature, they are an effective way of bringing together parliamentarians and interested parties to help highlight a topic and the opportunities that exist for improving outcomes in the area. APPGs allow campaign groups, charities, and other non-governmental organisations active in the field to become involved in discussions and influence politicians.

Where is covered by an APPG?

It does vary, but as health is a devolved power in the UK, this APPG will only cover England. We will however carry out many of the same activities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but they will not be under the auspices of the APPG.

Why an APPG for Axial Spondyloarthritis?

In 2017 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published the first ever guideline for the diagnosis and management of spondyloarthritis, followed soon after by an accompanying Quality Standard. This was a huge step forward for the treatment of axial SpA (AS), but there was nothing in place to actually oversee their implementation. Following feedback from discussions with parliamentarians about this challenge, NASS took the step of establishing an APPG that could help to maximise the visibility of this important new guidance and support its implementation across the country. The APPG for Axial SpA will run in the first instance for a time limited period of 2 years.

Who are the members?

Derek Thomas MP, Conservative, West Cornwall and the Scilly Isles (Chair)

Lord Campbell-Savours, Labour, Life Peer (Co-Chair)

Dr Rupa Huq, Labour, Acton and Ealing Central (Vice Chair)

Baroness Masham, Crossbench Peer

Andy Slaughter, Labour, Hammersmith

Ed Vaizey, Conservative, Wantage and Didcot


Following the first meeting, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request was sent by the APPG to all providers and commissioners in England. The FOI was based on the NICE Guideline and Quality Standard, with additional information requested on access to mental health services. The results were presented at Meeting 2 of the APPG and will be published as a report shortly, with follow up activities to include providing local results to MPs.

How to get involved

Contact your MP asking them to join the APPG and urge them to make their local commissioners aware of the APPG inquiry findings on a local level.

Contact your local Healthwatch with the FOI results


Meeting 1: The impact of delayed diagnosis and the opportunities for improving outcomes (19 March 2019)

Meeting 2: Assessing the uptake of key NICE Guidance for Axial SpA (AS) (9 July 2019)

Further meeting details will be made available here in due course, but topics to be covered include:

  • Delay to diagnosis – what are the solutions?
  • The role of specialist physiotherapy
  • Research findings
  • Review of uptake of NICE guidance


You can contact the secretariat for the APPG, which is managed by M&F Health, by emailing or by emailing Jill Hamilton on


Partial funding for the APPG for Axial Spondyloarthritis has been provided by Novartis through an educational grant to NASS. Novartis has no editorial involvement. The remainder of the funding is provided by NASS.