Fiona Bruce MP seeks support for Arthritis sufferers

Fiona Bruce MP met with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, David Mowat, at the Minister’s invitation after her speaking on the issue in the House of Commons, to consider the impacts of arthritis and press for more Government action on this vital issue. Alongside Jim Shannon MP and representatives from Arthritis UK, they discussed prompt and decisive action which might be taken, so that people throughout the UK might no longer be forced to suffer due to this crippling condition.
They talked over a range of issues, three key points of which were:
1.      There should be an acceptance throughout the NHS that Arthritis is a long term condition and monitored on a regular basis as with other similar conditions
2.      NICE Guidelines on Osteoarthritis, which set out model questions for GPs, to ask, should be applied nationally and not just in certain postcode areas.
3.      The number of Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy sessions recommended by a GP for an OA patient should be expanded from just 1 or 2 to as many as 6
Fiona Bruce MP said
“Talking to constituents and hearing their stories has really given me an insight into the terrible pain, isolation and fatigue suffered by millions of people throughout the UK on a daily basis, caused by this dreadful disease”.
In fact, around one in seven people in the UK live with arthritis, and three in four people with arthritis and joint pain, according to a survey carried out for Arthritis Research UK, say pain stops them living life to the full.
Fiona continued

“Arthritis has for too long found itself at the bottom of the heap, as far as acknowledgement of medical conditions are concerned, with treatment and care too often inadequate or inconsistent. I hope that this meeting with the Department of Health might be a positive step on a long, but significant, journey towards ensuring those with arthritis are given the help they need”.
The meeting follows a Parliamentary debate on the 20thOctober, which for the first time in five years sought to examine the impacts of arthritis. The debate received a great amount of cross party support, with numerous MPs bringing the issue to the fore. In this debate, Fiona powerfully told the story of a constituent, Christine Walker, a long-time sufferer of arthritis and supporter of the charity Arthritis UK, emphasising the need for the Government to take action on the issue.
In response to hearing of Fiona’s meeting with the Minister, Christine said

“I hope that by exposing people to the terrible impacts of arthritis, they may start to listen up and view arthritis as the serious condition it is, which must be tackled. The Parliamentary debate was vital in this, and I am so pleased to hear that Fiona and other MPs have met with a Minister. I look forward to hearing about positive and decisive action which might result.”
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