Physiotherapists are tackling musculoskeletal health inequalities

The CSP welcomes the report of the first ever national inquiry into musculoskeletal (MSK) health inequalities and deprivation. 

ARMA MSK health inequalities report

The Act Now: Musculoskeletal Health Inequalities and Deprivation report from ARMA highlights the impact of social and economic determinants of health on those living with MSK conditions, recognising that people in deprived areas face far greater challenges in managing their MSK conditions and accessing quality MSK services.

We are pleased to have contributed and played a key role through the stages of the inquiry and development of the report.

This has resulted in CSP recommendations being reflected in the report along with the voices of physiotherapists with quotes and robust case studies. The report highlights the actions physiotherapy staff have taken both through innovative design and delivery of MSK services to improve access.

The report provides practical advice and signposting for health systems, MSK services and practitioners in a position to shift the dial in the right direction and implement innovative strategies to overcome barriers to healthcare access and tackle unequal health outcomes in MSK health.

Key recommendations from the report include:

  • Getting closer to and knowing your community better – solutions such as moving services into community spaces make them more accessible to under-served groups from deprived areas
  • Developing shared ownership of services through engagement and co-production
  • Using data to identify, tackle and monitor barriers to access and unequal health outcomes
  • Targeting intensive and tailored supported self-management where need is greatest. 

The inquiry process included call for evidence, oral evidence sessions and online survey for people with lived experience. With guidance from a lived experience panel and experts in health inequalities research and policy as well as a lit review. 

The inquiry received 59 written responses to call for evidence and was broadly welcomed. 

CSP assistant director Sara Hazzard said: 'This report is an essential edition to the understanding of how to tackle MSK health inequalities and it is testament to the hard work of CSP colleagues that their expertise has been included within it.

'The input of the CSP into this report again shows its commitment to leading the development of rehabilitation and it is paramount that everyone, no matter their background or where they live, has their right to rehab realised.'

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