News from the nations


Cymru Versus Arthritis – CWTCH Project update

The CWTCH (Communities Working Together Can Help) project in Wales was originally funded for 3 years by the Welsh Government. The CWTCH ambition is that wherever you are in Wales there’s a local Touchpoint with us. Cymru Versus Arthritis’ CWTCH project aims to increase our geographical reach, to ensure no one faces arthritis alone, and to bring our ambitions and national work to life in local communities through this project.

We are delighted to announce that due to the success of the CWTCH project thus far, the Welsh Government has funded the project for an additional 2 years. This means that the CWTCH project will run until 2025 and will be pan-Wales.

Our education packages had to be adapted due to the pandemic and we modified our original face-to-face product for a digital audience. The CWTCH project has delivered 16 virtual education workshops to over 250 healthcare professionals so far in Wales.

We are continuing to work closely with NHS Wales across the health boards. We have been able to integrate ourselves in some Escape Pain programmes in Wales, working alongside physiotherapists delivering the programme to help support them as well as their patients. Our aim is to become involved with as many of these programmes as possible.

We are also working with Rheumatology departments to either have a presence at their clinics or to have a rolling presence at their Early Intervention clinics.

We have also been holding various information days across Wales, to bring together Healthcare Professionals and people living with arthritis.

The next 3 years will involve scaling and rolling the CWTCH project across Wales - delivering more education courses both face to face and digitally and working closely with the health boards and the health and social care sector.

Core Skills trainers for Wales

We are currently recruiting more Core Skills trainers in Wales to deliver our education packages to healthcare professionals. If you are a GP residing in Wales, with an interest in MSK and education/training experience then please get in touch with to discuss this paid opportunity in more detail.

Are you interested in helping develop a physical activity tool for osteoarthritis?

If you are, find out more in the recruitment advert (PDF, 57 KB).


Living Well with Arthritis Commissioned Services in England

Versus Arthritis works with local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups and healthcare professionals to offer Shared Decision-Making services for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and/or hip. Our Shared Decision-Making service aims to provide high quality information on patients' health conditions, to empower them to make informed decisions about their ongoing healthcare.

What do we do?

Our free one-off services provide patients with up-to-date information to help them make decisions about their healthcare. We discuss ways to manage osteoarthritis symptoms such as pain, talk about positive changes that could be made including exercise and weight loss, and give information on all healthcare options available.

Our services are delivered by our trained staff and Versus Arthritis volunteers.

We have been running our services across England since 2014 and have supported over 7,000 people.

Our services are run either virtually or in local accessible venues.

Who can access the service?

Anyone who has osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee, who is registered with a GP surgery in:

  • Northumberland CCG
  • East Riding of Yorkshire CCG
  • Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire CCG

Adults over the age of 18 and at any point in their diagnoses of OA can access our service.

How could our services help your patients?

  • Give patients access to the information, support, and services they need to make informed choices and take control.
  • Give patients the opportunity to share and hear about other people’s experiences living with arthritis, to promote the value of peer support.
  • Help patients better understand their condition.
  • Help patients feel more confident to manage their condition, including symptoms such as pain.
  • Have the necessary information to make positive lifestyle changes such as reviewing diet.
  • Help patients feel less isolated.
  • Increase patients' self-confidence.
  • Find out and get in touch with other local support services.

How can patients access the service?

If your patient is registered with a GP surgery in:

  • Northumberland CCG
  • East Riding of Yorkshire CCG
  • Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucester CCG

Then they can self-refer themselves to our service using this link: or we provide Health Care Professional referral forms which can be completed and e-mailed back. Please contact to obtain the referral form.

Once we have received the referral form either from a Health Care Professional or via self-referral, we will contact the patient within 10 working days and book them onto a service.

Patient feedback:

In 2019 we had an external evaluation completed on the service. This evaluation surveyed 1,169 people who accessed the service during the evaluation and found:

  • 99% were satisfied or very satisfied with the service
  • 94% had increased knowledge about arthritis
  • 85% understood better how to manage their symptoms.