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MusculoskeletalFeb 20, 2023

Major inquiry launched into the impact of health inequalities on musculoskeletal conditions in UK

Physiotherapists can contribute to the first national inquiry on health inequalities and musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, which was launched today (20 February) by Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA).

The charity – an umbrella organisation comprised of 40 influential organisations in the field, including the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy – said it will produce a report on the topic by December.

It is widely accepted that prevalence and impact of MSK conditions are not experienced equally in the population. As well as being linked to deprivation and age, MSK conditions are more common among women, and disproportionately affect some minority ethnic groups, ARMA stated.

‘Deprivation is a significant driver of inequalities in MSK health. People in deprived areas experience more chronic pain, are more likely to have a long term MSK condition and experience worse clinical outcomes and quality of life. We are therefore focusing this inquiry on MSK health inequalities and deprivation.’

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
MSK conditions are more prevalent among women and some minority ethnic groups

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The inquiry’s three main aims are to

  • set out the evidence for inequalities in MSK health related to deprivation and explore the possible underlying reasons
  • propose actions to address these, both in design and delivery of MSK services, and actions to address wider determinants of health and prevention
  • raise the profile of the issues and possible solutions

Local services are invited to submit examples of assessments they have used to highlight the causes of inequalities relating to deprivation. Staff are asked to outline the actions they took and to explain why they were chosen, along with any evaluations of effectiveness or plans to evaluate.

What is ARMA looking for? 

  • information related specifically to MSK health (rather than health inequalities in general)
  • information related to inequalities in MSK health or access to health care related to deprivation
  • 'MSK' covers all conditions relating to bones, joints, muscles and connective tissue (including all forms of arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis, hypermobility and fibromyalgia)

ARMA will set up an expert panel and is inviting researchers, clinicians, policy makers, people living with MSK conditions and anyone else who would like to contribute to get in touch. It will also recruit members to form a lived experience panel to support the inquiry. Details of how to apply will be posted shortly.

Financial support for the project was provided by Grunenthal UK Ltd, Pfizer Limited and Jansen in the form of ‘charitable grants’.

ARMA has set a deadline of 3 April for interested parties to send in evidence as a 'first call'.

Evidence can be submitted in writing to: equalities@arma.uk.net

 To find out more about the ARMA inquiry, visit: http://arma.uk.net/msk-health-inequalities-equality/inquiry

Author: Ian A McMillan
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