Parliamentary engagement

The BSR policy team have been meeting with parliamentarians across the four nations with the objective of raising awareness of arthritic and musculoskeletal conditions and rheumatology services amongst MPs.

UK Parliament

Second Annual Report: National Clinical Audit for Rheumatoid and Early Inflammatory Arthritis

BSR contacted MPs and peers about the audit first results. Overall, 17 Parliamentary Questions were asked in the UK parliament, by 6 different Members of Parliament.

UK Parliamentary briefings

Westminster Hall debate on National Arthritis Week: BSR provided a small briefing for the debate along with Arthritis UK and used social media to contact MPs to attend the debate. Members of Parliament (MPs) took part in a parliamentary debate regarding their own experiences of arthritis and how it affects their day-to-day lives. This debate on recognising people with arthritis in the UK parliament was the first of its kind in over five years. MPs gave stories of their own experiences but also highlighted constituent’s stories who have contacted them about the debate. Along with Arthritis Research UK, BSR briefed MPs informing them about the key facts and figures surrounding arthritis in the UK. BSR’s recent clinical audit was a topic of debate amongst the MPs as they questioned the inconsistency of treatment and care received by patients from their rheumatology team. The debate was on 20 October 2016 and was part of a wider campaign called the “Share Your Everyday” campaign. Led by Arthritis Research UK, the campaign encouraged the public to share their stories of living with arthritis so that research is better targeted at the issues affecting most people with arthritis

Westminster Hall debate on Musculoskeletal Services in Greenwich: The BSR provided Westminster with information to inform a Westminster debate on the CCG’s pending decision to award Circle Health a contract to provide the Musculoskeletal service (MSK) in Greenwich. The debate took place on 10 January 2017.

Written submissions to the Health Committee

The Health Committee from the UK Parliament invited BSR to write a submission on the priorities for health and social care in the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The submission can be found here.

UK Parliamentary receptions

Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMA UK) parliamentary reception - On the 11th May 2016 a Fibromyalgia Awareness event took place in the House of Commons, hosted by Andrea Jenkyns MP, organised by Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMA UK). The event was attended by MPs, researchers, healthcare professionals, students and people living with fibromyalgia, their families and carers. During the event Dr Toby Garrood, a consultant from Guy’s Hospital fibromyalgia clinic gave an overview of the award-winning and BSR best-practice fibromyalgia multidisciplinary service.

Arthritis Research UK (ARUK) parliamentary reception - On the 5th of July 2016, ARUK hosted a parliamentary reception on work and health event to launch of their report into working with arthritis.

Fit For Work parliamentary reception - On the 24th of October, The Fit for Work UK Coalition which is committed to helping people with long-term health conditions remain in and return to work. BSR’s policy team attended the Coalition in the House of Lords to launch the Coalitions “Complexities and Challenges: Working with Multiple Health Conditions” report, which explores the links between physical and mental health, and work outcomes. Notable attendees were Penny Mordant MP, Lord William McKenzie, Ms Margeret Greenwood MP and Lord Thomas Pendry.

National Annklyosing Spondylitis Society’s (NASS) parliamentary reception
- On the 2nd of November 2016, the event, ‘As it is: Patient Voice & Patient Choice’, was hosted by Ben Howlett MP on NASS’s 40th anniversary to recognise the work NASS have achieved and the support that they’re given. The event ended in a Patient Choice Awards, where BSR members; Dr Karl Gaffney, Dr Raj Sengupta, Claire Jeffres, Clare Longton, Kelly Hayes-Head, Michelle Rutherford, Dr John Hunter and Liz Van Rossen along members from the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth were amongst the winners.

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society’s (NRAS) Healthcare Champion awards ceremony - On the 2nd of November 2016, the Prime Minister and NRAS Founding Patron, the Rt. Hon Theresa May hosted the event. BSR members Dr James Galloway, Ms Kit Trantor, Dr Jeremy Camilleri  and Professor Chris Buckley all won awards. Those selected best demonstrated a commitment to meeting the needs of their patients, treated patients holistically and involved them in decisions about their care. BSR’s president, Dr Peter Lanyon spoke at the event.

Rare Disease UK's recpetion on Rare Disease Day - The Westminster Parliamentary Reception took place on, Rare Disease Day 2017, Tuesday 28 February. BSR, along with over 150 attendees, were joined in the House of Commons by MPs and Peers. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Rare, Genetic and Undiagosed Conditions launched its report on the implementation of the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases in England. Hosted by Ben Howlett MP, representatives from NHS England and Public Health England Fiona Marley and Sarah Stevens were amongst the speakers. Additionally, Nicola Blackwood, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Health spoke.

Political Party Conferences

BSR attended the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham ICC, 2-5 October 2016. Peter Lanyon, President of BSR, spoke at the Conservative Party Conference. Additionally, BSR attended the Labour Party Conference, Liverpool, 25-28 September 2016. Peter Lanyon, the president of BSR, spoke at two Fringe events at the Conservative Party Conference and former CEO, Laura Guest at one fringe event at the Labour conference.

The Scottish Parliament

The State of Play: Scotland

The BSR sent the report to a number of Members of the Scottish Parliament. The report was also launched at the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Conditions Cross-Party Group Meeting, chaired by Margaret McCulloch MSP (Lab) who is no longer an MSP. The BSR also attended a Cross Party Group Meeting on Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Conditions on 1 March 2016 to speak about the report.

The BSR are currently planning on writing to the Scottish Government a year on from the release of the report.

The Welsh Assembly

The State of Play: Wales

Over the past few months, the BSR have been working with Arthritis Care Wales and NRAS to try and push through some of the State of Play: Rheumatology in Wales recommendations in the Welsh Assembly. The BSR met with:

  • Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care - Rhun ap Iorwerth, a Plaid Cymru AM of Anglesey
  • Chair of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee - Dr Dai Lloyd, a Plaid Cymru AM of South Wales West
  • Janet Finch-Saunders, a Conservative AM for Aberconwy
  • Angela Burns, a Conservative AM Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

Along with NRAS and Arthritis Care Wales, the BSR policy team has asked each AM to write to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and to write the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC). As a result of BSRs work in Wales, a Newyddion 9 programme was aired by the BBC based on the report, as well as the report being raised in the Welsh First Ministers Question Time. A Statement of Opinion and Short Debate have been also been agreed on the report.
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