NASS works to raise awareness and understanding of the issues around axial SpA (AS) around the UK
Following publication of the NICE Guideline for Spondyloarthritis in 2017, NASS contacted all Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England to encourage the implementation of the guideline. We also worked with the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) to publicising the guideline through their MSK Hub.
In 2016 we held our ‘Patient Choice and Patient Voice’ event in Parliament. We aimed to celebrate great care around the UK with our Patient Choice Awards, emphasising the patient voice and asking MPs to support the implementation of the NICE Guideline. With research showing only 12% of people with axial SpA (AS)n have a written care plan, we also called for more people to be given written care plans.
Our 2014 parliamentary reception focused on access to physiotherapy. aThe event saw support from MPs Caroline Dinenage and Heather Wheeler, as well as an excellent piece by Mr Irranca-Davies in the Huffington Post.
2013 saw the launch of our ‘AS it is’ campaign, calling for a Clinical Guideline and Quality Standard for Spondyloarthritis to be produced by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). We were successful, following a year of lobbying the Department of Health and NHS, adjournment debates in Parliament and a meeting with the then Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb MP.
NASS is regularly represented by members in Scotland at the Cross Party Group for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Condition. Thanks to Iain MacDonald and Murray Brown for their regular attendance and for providing updates.
Our first reception in the Scottish Parliament took place in 2015, where we called for better access to physiotherapy and for the decision to close permanently two of the three hydrotherapy pools in NHS Lothian to be reversed. Margaret McCulloch, then MSP for Central Scotland hosted the event, and a passionate appeal to keep hydrotherapy pools open in Scotland was delivered by NASS West Lothian Chair Murray Brown. Over 30 MSPs attended, including Maureen Watt, Minister for Wellbeing.
Our campaign was successful and all three hydrotherapy pools remain open, following a combination of parliamentary and local level lobbying.
In 2017 NASS joined the Arthritis and Chronic Musculoskeletal (MSK) Group at the Welsh Assembly, and took part in a workshop late in the year to discuss upcoming draft framework for MSK conditions in Wales.
In 2014 we launched our ‘AS it is’ campaign in Wales. The event was held at the Senedd and attended by Mark Drakeford AM, Health Minister, who spoke about the need to reduce delays to diagnosis in Wales.