Services for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis
HC 46, Tenth Report of Session 2009-10 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
- House of Commons - Committee of Public Accounts
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Rheumatoid arthritis is a lifelong, progressive, musculoskeletal disease that causes severe pain, swelling and inflammation of the joints, and can lead to reduced joint function and disability. An estimated 580,000 people in England have the disease with 26,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Annual healthcare costs to the NHS are £560 million, with costs to the economy of £1.8 billion in sick leave and work-related disability.
Early diagnosis is crucial: starting treatment within three months can stop the disease getting worse and yet the time between experiencing symptoms and receiving treatment is typically nine months, unchanged since 2003. People's low awareness of the disease, causing them to delay seeking medical help, and GPs failing to spot the early symptoms and refer quickly enough for diagnosis by a specialist, cause the delay.
Once diagnosed there may be a postcode lottery of care and wide variation in spending on rheumatoid arthritis across Primary Care Trusts. Access to the range of services needed to manage rheumatoid arthritis also varies. Three quarters of people with rheumatoid arthritis are diagnosed when of working age, and one third of people stop working within two years of being diagnosed.
People with the disease often lack the right support mechanisms to help them maintain their independence and make an economic contribution to society. Dame Carol Black's review "Working for a Healthier Tomorrow" (2008, ISBN 9780117025134, available below) recommended help for people with musculoskeletal conditions to remain in work, but this has yet to filter through to action on the ground.
|Format||Paperback||Published||23 Feb 2010|
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