The European Musculoskeletal Conditions Surveillance and Information Network ( is a three year, €1.8 million project to raise and harmonise quality of care and enable equity of care of rheumatic diseases and other musculoskeletal conditions across the Member States. This is achieved by developing and operationalising a relevant health surveillance and information system, leading  to improved musculoskeletal health for all. The project is supported by the European Community (EC Community Action in the Field of Heath 2008-2013) and by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR)

The project comprises 22 organisations across 17 countries who together aim to provide updated and harmonised information on the health, social, employment and economic impact of musculoskeletal conditions across all EU member states. The project establishes what standards of care patients can expect, the quality of healthcare provided, what barriers affect the local implementation, highlight examples of European good practice and makes recommendations to improve healthcare across the EU.  is one of the biggest funded public health projects across the EU. The project has been presented to the European Parliament in a bid to increase political support for improving the management of these conditions, and cited by John Dalli, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy as a key initiative of the EU Health Strategy: together for Health (2008 – 2013). The project is working with patient groups and healthcare providers across Europe to find out how the system works in their countries and what problems there are in providing treatments.

Although medical providers in the UK, for example, are used to health care targets this is not something that is generally used in other EU countries. While in the UK these targets and indicators give direction on what should be achieved, in other countries standards and achievements are measured in different ways.

The project will lead to improved musculoskeletal health through evidence based policy recommendations for the implementation of a community strategy and by highlighting good practice so that it can be copied across the EU.



Professor Anthony Woolf, co-ordinator:

“It is an exciting project which is bringing over 100 people from all over Europe together to achieve a common aim. At the moment, people with these conditions are not a priority in any country. There are no targets for these conditions despite the impact they have and this is probably largely because they are not fatal conditions. We are in the process of developing standards of care which will be a check list for anyone with a condition such as arthritis, on issues including what they should expect from their care and what drugs are available. This is an important opportunity for us to play a central role in influencing health policy in Europe for the management of Musculoskeletal conditions. We are hoping to get a consensus on what people with musculoskeletal conditions need and then we can harmonise, not standardise, ways of working and quality and equity of care. We need to highlight to policy makers the enormous impact that rheumatic and other musculoskeletal conditions have on individuals and on society.  There is an urgent need to ensure that anyone in Europe with arthritis has the opportunity of the same outcome by developing and implementing these standards of care. In every country the problems faced by people with musculoskeletal conditions are very similar. This project is a big opportunity to get all the EU countries measuring standards in the same way.”