On Monday the third of July, I showed my support for those living in Plymouth with arthritis, at a Drop-In event hosted by the charity Versus Arthritis in the Houses of Parliament. I heard that according to a new report by the charity, over 10 million people in the UK are living with arthritis – that’s one in six of us.
At the event, I spoke directly to people with arthritis and NHS professionals about what it is like living with the debilitating condition. The impact of the condition is not to be underestimated as it intrudes on an individual’s everyday life- to work, care for their family or simply enjoy movement without pain; however despite this, those struggling with arthritis are often dismissed and overlooked.
According to Versus Arthritis, the condition will cost the NHS an eye-watering £118 billion over the next decade.
The charity also presented findings from its new report, the State of Musculoskeletal Health 2023, which reveals that people with arthritis are 20% less likely to be in work than someone without arthritis and in 2021, 23.3M working days were lost due to MSK conditions.
Many of those who cannot work due to arthritis are waiting for joint replacement surgery, which has some of the longest waiting times in the UK. University Hospital Plymouth’s performance is in fact quite poor for those waiting for over 1 year. The national average for the % of patients waiting for over 1 year is 6%, for Plymouth it is 20%.
There are clearly several areas which need improvement and I will commit to making positive long-lasting change by supporting those living with arthritis and working collaboratively to bring down waiting lists.