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National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society – We’re in this together

MAIDENHEAD, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- No one can have failed to notice the austerity measures being put in place across all government departments with “we're in this together” becoming the rallying cry of the coalition government. In the spirit of this, the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society are using the occasion of World Arthritis Day on the 12th October to publish their new Responsibility Deal, demonstrating that as well as rights, patients also have responsibilities, as do all those involved in the health, social care and policy making process.

The Responsibility Deal is a series of pledges that all those with an active interest in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can sign up to – patients, carers, health care professionals and policy makers. Each pledge indicates a willingness to help NRAS work together with the rheumatology community to raise awareness of RA, improve access to services and medicines, empower people to self manage their condition more effectively and, ultimately, lead to a better quality of life for all people with the disease. The deal was developed following a consultation exercise involving nearly 700 people, asking them about their views and what they would do to make a difference.

"The Responsibility Deal is based on the principle that we all have obligations and responsibilities; and we all can play our part to help ensure that health and social care services across the UK deliver better standards of care, high quality treatment and support services so that people with RA can get the care they both need and deserve" said Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.

“The Responsibility Deal puts into simple words a lot of incredibly sensible, achievable and really important principles that all those involved can sign up to and help make the system more equitable in the UK. I for one will be pledging my commitment to it” said Professor David Scott, Consultant Rheumatologist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust and Chief Medical Advisor to NRAS.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an incurable disease affecting around 690,000 people across the UK, with a further 30,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The condition costs the NHS £560 million pounds each year in England alone but if you include social costs then this can rise to £4.8 billion and when the devolved nations are added, the figures are substantially higher.

For further information on the Responsibility Deal and to sign up to the pledge, please visit the NRAS website at www.nras.org.uk.

ENDS

Notes:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the joint tissue causing inflammation, stiffness, pain and extreme fatigue. If left untreated, the joint can lose its shape and alignment and lead to permanent disability. It is a systemic disease and can affect other organs too.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age. Around three quarters of people with rheumatoid arthritis are first diagnosed when of working age and women are three times as likely as men to have the disease.
  • The mission of NRAS is ‘working for a better life for people living with rheumatoid arthritis’ by providing information, education, support and advocacy; raising public and government awareness of RA; campaigning for equity of access to best treatment and care; and facilitating the networking of people with RA and encouraging self-help.

Quotes from those signing up to the pledge:

“For too long the health and social care system for rheumatoid arthritis has not been joined up. Patients, health professionals, managers and policy makers have all been pulling in different directions to suit their own needs, making the ultimate goal of providing the best possible care hard to achieve. This Responsibility Deal formally places the emphasis on working together for a better outcome and it is essential that we all must commit to it if we are to achieve the improvements in rheumatoid arthritis care that are needed. The deal puts into simple words a lot of incredibly sensible, achievable and really important principles that all those involved can sign up to and help make the system more equitable in the UK. I for one will be pledging my commitment to it.”

Prof David Scott
Consultant Rheumatologist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust
Chief Medical Advisor to NRAS

“There is a lot that can be done to improve the quality of life of people with arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. From early diagnosis to effective treatments and support. We all have a duty to do better, from better public awareness, to more prompt diagnosis and referral in primary care, to more holistic specialist care and patient and carer support. Especially now, commissioners have a duty to commission comprehensive MSK services which challenge the status quo. Services which treat patients with the compassion, dignity and respect they deserve and services which routinely involve patients and their carers in their care and decisions about their care. We know what is required of us, now we just all need to live up to our responsibilities.”

Dr Steven Laitner
General Practitioner and Associate Medical Director
National Clinical Lead for Shared Decision Making (Quality and Productivity, Department of Health)

“I have lived with RA for over 30 years and founded NRAS 11 years ago. If I had known even a small amount of what I know now when I was first diagnosed, or if there had been an NRAS back then, things could have been different and the feelings of isolation and sometimes despair which I experienced in the early years might have been a lot less. As a patient, I would strongly support all the pledges in this Responsibility Deal, particularly the patient ones, and I would urge everyone with RA to find out more about their disease, communicate more effectively with health professionals and learn how to self manage effectively, it really does make a positive difference, both physically and emotionally.”

Ailsa Bosworth
Founder and Chief Executive
National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
Andrew Scott
andrew@nras.org.uk
0845 4583969 / 07703 026974

Source: National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society