Today I am supporting the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) on World Arthritis Day in calling for improvements in services for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The theme of World Arthritis Day 2010 is ‘Let’s Work Together’. NRAS members, health professionals will be working together to raise awareness of RA and of what needs to be done to improve outcomes for patients.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and disabling autoimmune disease, affecting about 690,000 people in the UK. It has no known cause or cure. It remains a major cause of people not working – almost 30% of people with RA surveyed by NRAS in 2007 gave up work within a year of being diagnosed with the condition. The overall cost of the condition to the UK economy is almost £8 billion each year.
There are, on average 1,061 people with rheumatoid arthritis in each parliamentary constituency. To support NRAS on World Arthritis Day, I am working with them to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis and the importance of early diagnosis so that people can get the treatment they need at an early stage and continue to enjoy life and work with the condition.