People with arthritis are part of the wider spectrum of people with long term conditions that can benefit from care planning. However, only 12% of people with musculoskeletal conditions currently have a care plan. Care planning should be made available to people with arthritis who feel they would benefit.

Many people live with the painful and fluctuating symptoms of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions for decades.

Care planning is an approach that people with long term conditions can use to manage their health and wellbeing. It centres on a collaborative conversation between the person with a long term condition and a healthcare professional, and includes the development of goals and actions which are recorded and shared.

Currently, only 12% of people with musculoskeletal conditions currently have a care plan, but many more could benefit. We want to see everyone with arthritis being offered care planning to help them take control of their condition and improve their quality of life.

What needs to happen

  • Healthcare commissioners, including NHS England, should ensure that care planning is available to people with musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Professional bodies should ensure that healthcare professionals involved in care planning have relevant training, including in musculoskeletal core skills.
  • NHS Digital should publish data on the proportion of people with a long-term condition who have a care plan. This data should be available by medical condition (including musculoskeletal conditions) and should be published alongside data on the proportion of people feeling supported to manage their conditions.

Read our Care planning and MSK health report (PDF 1.46 MB).

The report builds on the outputs of a policy workshop we held in 2013 to consider and help to define the care planning process in relation to musculoskeletal conditions.

For more information from this workshop you can also read our Care planning workshop programme (PDF 111 KB) and Care planning workshop presentations (PDF 4 MB).