Impossible to ignore

People with arthritis can’t ignore their pain

Let’s make sure the Government doesn’t, either.

It's not 'just aches and pains', and it's not 'just wear and tear’. It’s not alright – it’s arthritis, and it can steal someone's family life, independence and even the ability to move freely.

For many, the pandemic has made living with arthritis even harder. With appointments, treatments and even joint replacement surgery delayed, people with arthritis face worsening pain and impacts to their physical and mental health that are impossible to ignore.

People with arthritis need clear communication about when they will be treated and the assurance that they can receive care and services safely during the ongoing pandemic.

As UK Governments respond to the pandemic and plan for the future, we must ensure that people with arthritis are not left behind, struggling in pain. Our campaign demands action from UK Governments and health bodies to address the life-limiting pain of arthritis.

Our Impossible to Ignore campaign's calling for:

  • Healthcare services used by people with arthritis and related conditions are accessible throughout the pandemic.
  • Commitment to the ongoing involvement of people with arthritis to shape the future of treatment and services.
  • Planned joint replacement surgery to continue – wherever it is safely possible – throughout the pandemic, and that there is action to bring down joint replacement waiting lists.
  • Local healthcare providers ensure that people with arthritis have timely and clear communication, and access to advice and support to manage their pain.

Delivering our message to governments

The widespread cancellation of planned operations over the pandemic has left hundreds of thousands of people with arthritis across the UK waiting in unbearable pain for joint replacement surgery.

Over 46,000 of us have signed the Versus Arthritis petition calling for urgent government action to bring down waiting times and ensure people waiting for joint replacements get the support they need. People with arthritis waiting in pain for surgery have been patient long enough. It’s time we made our voices heard, louder and clearer than ever before. In July 2021, we handed in our petition to governments across the UK. Read more about it here.

Whilst we welcome initiatives being put in place to address the planned surgery backlog , there is much more to be done. With hospitals facing continued pressure due to the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, elective surgery remains to be at risk.

It’s vital that governments take action now and set out plans to bring down joint replacement waiting times, so health services can continue to deliver these life-transforming operations, and ensure that those waiting for surgery receive ongoing communication and support.

UK politicians must act now.
Watch and share the video to find out more:

We are impossible to ignore

Our achievements so far

Our campaigning and influencing work has been shaped by more than 9,000 lived experiences of arthritis, gathered through surveys and personal stories. People with arthritis have told us what matters and we have shared this with policy-makers and politicians across the UK.

“It hasn't quite sunk in yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know recovery will be hard, but I am pretty experienced with pain now. I honestly do not think I would have had the confidence to pester them about it if it was not the advice and encouragement.” - Chris, 48, who recently had joint replacement surgery.

Our Impossible to Ignore campaign has pushed arthritis up the political agenda and made headline news across all four nations.

More than 35,000 people have signed our petition calling on UK governments to safely address the backlog of people waiting for joint replacement surgery.

In total, our work has been supported by over 250 politicians from Westminster and the Devolved Nations.

Here are some of our highlights from the past year:

Campaigning across the UK

We’ve been listening to the experiences of people with arthritis throughout the pandemic, taking every opportunity to make sure that politicians and policymakers across the UK address their needs. Together, we must continue to push for change.

We know that the cancellation of treatment and disruption to health services has left people with arthritis in severe pain.

Nearly half of the 6,000 people we’ve surveyed in Spring 2020 told us that their arthritis appointments have been cancelled over the pandemic. Coronavirus has led to the widespread cancellation of planned surgery across the UK, with hundreds of thousands of people with arthritis waiting for joint replacement operations. They’ve been left struggling, in unbearable pain, without a date for surgery.

People with arthritis need clear communication about when they can expect to be treated, advice and support for their pain, and assurances that surgery can restart safely.

Our campaign, Impossible to Ignore, is calling on UK governments to make sure the needs of people with arthritis are addressed as they plan to restart treatment and services.

We need them to understand that the pain of arthritis is impossible to ignore.

We need to see plans in place to resume surgery safely, and assurances that people with arthritis waiting for joint replacements have not been forgotten.

Join our campaign for support now

People with arthritis waiting for surgery need support now.

As waiting times for joint replacements reach record levels, it’s vital that everyone with arthritis waiting for surgery has access to support to manage their pain and distress, alongside improving health and wellbeing.

In June 2021, we launched our call for local health services to urgently implement a six-point package of support for those waiting for joint replacements.

Support our campaign now.