Last updated:17th November 2017

AS it is: Patient Voice & Patient Choice 2016

The AS it is: Patient Voice & Patient Choice campaign launched on 2 November 2016 in the Houses of Parliament.

It aims to:

  • Promote the upcoming National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Clinical Guidelines for Spondyloarthritis

  • Celebrate existing good practice by health care professionals

  • Promote written care plans

NASS believes proper implementation of the Guidelines will help to improve the current 8.5 year average delay to diagnosis for people with axial spondyloarthritis including ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

AS it is campaign

The AS it is campaign was launched in 2013 when NASS lobbied for the Secretary of State for Health to ask NICE to produce Clinical Guidelines for Spondyloarthritis. This was a successful campaign and the guidelines are due to be published in spring 2017. In subsequent years we have campaigned in the UK parliament for better access to physiotherapy, at the Welsh Assembly for better services around the country and in Scotland against the sweeping closure of hydrotherapy pools.

2016 campaign messages

With the impending publication of the NICE Clinical Guidelines for Spondyloarthritis, NASS is seeking to promote these in the context of the current 8.5 year delay to diagnosis and the importance of a written care plan for those with such a complex condition as AS and all its associated co-morbidities.

This campaign asks MPs to:

Make a pledge at the reception to contact their local CCGs and NHS Trusts in England, NHS Health Boards in Wales and Health & Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland upon the publication of the Clinical Guidelines for Spondyloarthritis to help secure their implementation.

  • Ask a parliamentary question for NASS, based on the campaign following the reception.
  • Write to the Secretary of State for Health asking for proper publicity, dissemination and implementation of the NICE Clinical Guidelines for Spondyloarthritis.

What NASS is doing to reduce the delay in diagnosis?

NASS has been working with partners to educate GPs, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors since 2012.

In 2016 NASS formally launched our Back Pain Plus campaign aimed at ophthalmologists, dermatologists and gastroenterologists to ask them to recognise that back pain plus uveitis, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease could be inflammatory and encourage appropriate referrals to rheumatology.

Later in 2016 will see the launch of two new online training modules for GPs in conjunction with the Royal College of GPs on diagnosis and management of AS.

What NASS is doing to support care plans

NASS worked with other patient organisations in the musculoskeletal (MSK) community to produce a care plan for people with MSK conditions such as AS called ‘My Plan for Life with...’. ‘My Plan for Life with..’ is offered online as an editable PDF or in hard copy. NASS has advertised this online and in our Members’ newsletter, plus had hard copies available at our 2016 Members’ day.  NASS continues to promote My Plan for Life at all of our events.

How can you help?

Write to your MP and ask them to:

  • Pledge their support for the Guidelines and written care plans by contacting local health authorities.
  • Write to the Secretary of State for Health asking for the guidelines to be properly implemented when they are published.

 Find your MP and their contact details

 Download a template email / letter to your MP

 Download a briefing to give to your MP with more details on the campaign