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Fourth APPG on Axial SpA goes ahead virtually

The fourth meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Axial Spondyloarthritis took place virtually on 15 July. Chaired by Derek Thomas MP with the help of Dale Webb from NASS, the meeting was arranged especially to discuss the provision of rheumatology and physiotherapy services during the pandemic and beyond.

In preparation for the meeting, two surveys were conducted: the first was sent to health professionals to seek their views on the issue, and the second was sent to those who subscribe to NASS e-news. Read a summary of the top line results here.

On the night we were delighted to be joined by a variety of high quality speakers: Fran Reid (NASS member), Dr Dale Webb (CEO, NASS), Dr Helen Marzo Ortega (Chair, British Society for Spondyloarthritis), Sue Brown (CEO, Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance) and Andrew Bennett (National Clinical Director MSK Conditions, NHS England and Improvement).

Key messages from the meeting were:

  • NHS IT systems need to be more joined up with better coding
  • People with axial SpA (AS) are finding it difficult to manage without access to hydrotherapy services
  • Hybrid virtual and face to face clinics should be made available to people with axial SpA (AS)
  • Shared decision making and a whole system approach are needed for both the recovery of axial SpA (AS) services and any potential second wave of COVID-19

NASS will now work with M&F Health who provide secretariat to the APPG to develop the discussions into a set of recommendations.

You can catch up on the official minutes from this and all previous APPG meetings on the dedicated page on the NASS website. We will also be publishing a fill video of the meeting when it has been approved by all speakers.