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.
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 and beyond.
- 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.
We need government action
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 have ongoing communication and get the support they need now. 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.
Recent announcements from governments across the UK of more funding for the NHS to tackle the essential surgery backlog is welcome, but experts have warned it’s going to take a long time to bring waiting lists down.
We need decisive action from governments across the UK to ensure that people with arthritis waiting for surgery get vital support right now, and money allocated to tackling surgery backlogs will be spent at a pace they can see results. Clearing the joint replacement surgery backlog must be prioritised, and people must not feel abandoned or left unsupported whilst they wait.
UK politicians must act now.
Watch and share the video to find out more:
Together, we are impossible to ignore
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.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE WAITING FOR TREATMENT
Preparing for surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic
Hospitals are taking extra care during the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep everyone safe. Here’s what to expect, and what you can do, to minimise the risks of COVID-19 if you’re having surgery.
Call our helpline - 0800 5200 520. Our advisors aim to bring all of the information and advice about arthritis to provide tailored support for you. Call us for free today (Monday–Friday, 9am–6pm).
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 been pushing arthritis up the political agenda and made headline news across all four nations.
More than 46,000 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 parliaments.
Here are some of our highlights from the past year:
- Hidden cost of COVID-19: BBC Panorama: NHS Wait or Pay?
- £1bn elective recovery fund announced in Comprehensive Spending Review.
- £6.6bn govt investment in NHS COVID recovery includes elective surgery.
- Keeping up the pressure during the Welsh and Scottish elections.
- MPs report on delivering health services during the pandemic.
- MPs call for support for people with arthritis waiting for surgery during debate in House of Commons.
- Reached over 7 million people through our UK-wide media coverage.