Our AS it is event in the House of Commons on 5 November 2013 brought together patients, clinicians and policy makers to join the conversation about AS. Several MPs who were at the event signed our charter calling for NICE to issue guidance on a national standard of care for spondyloarthritis (SpA), including both a clinical guideline and SpA quality standard. It also called for a commitment by NHS England to more education for GPs and those working in primary care on inflammatory back pain.
NASS successfully campaigned for clinical guidelines to be developed by NICE. Debbie Cook, Chief Executive, currently sits on the Guideline Development group and we are hoping that they will be launched in 2016. Read more about the group on our Working with NICE page.
Other achievements in 2013 include:
An adjournment debate on AS in the House of Commons, introduced by Huw Irranca-Davies, MP on 25 February 2013. His manifesto was based on the recommendations of Looking Ahead and as a result of the debate the Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb MP, agreed to meet with Mr Irranca-Davies and NASS. This meeting took place in October 2013. The debate attracted a lot of press attention and also an article in Frontline magazine which goes to 50,000 physiotherapists.
- Caroline Lucas, MP wrote to Norman Lamb to support Mr Irranca-Davies' manifesto on AS.
- We wrote to Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of NHS England, outlining our concerns about the diagnosis and care for people with AS and, in particular, GP education. Sir David Nicholson has responded positively to us and you can read his letter here.
- In March Norman Lamb, MP referred to the importance of early diagnosis for AS in a written answer to a question on disability and musculoskeletal conditions asked by Andrew Gwynne, MP.
- Correspondence and discussions with the National Clinical Director for musculoskeletal conditions, Professor Peter Kay, and the National Clinical Director for the Spine, Professor Charles Greenough.
- Correspondence and discussions with Dr Martin McShane, Director of Domain Two (Long Term Conditions) at the NHS Commissioning Board.
- Meetings with Andrew Gwynne, MP and Fabian Hamilton MP.
- Briefing on AS to Heather Wheeler, MP who has mentioned AS during debates.