MSPs pledge to help people with arthritis in Scotland get the right support to stay working

10 January 2020
Scotland parliamentary event with children, Liam O'Toole and Scottish MP.

On 8 January we hosted a Parliamentary event in Holyrood to highlight our work in Scotland and secure MSP support for people with arthritis. It followed a week-long exhibition in the Scottish Parliament of artwork from our ‘Take Control’ project from our Young People and Families service.

The event was attended by the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Older People and Equalities, Christina McKelvie, the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Miles Briggs. Alongside 35 MSPs and numerous stakeholders from across Scotland.

Attendees had the opportunity to discuss and learn more about how arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions can impact on people’s ability to work.

We’ve been working tirelessly over the last year to highlight the issues experienced by people with arthritis in Scotland, who’ve experiencing barriers to work or issues getting the right support to stay working.

Raising awareness

Issues have included:

  • a lack of understanding from colleagues and employers about the impact of arthritis
  • difficulties understanding where to go for support in work and how to access it
  • a need for better co-ordination between employment, health and welfare systems

We've shared our findings with a group of expert stakeholders including MSPs, Scottish Government, charity, NHS and employability representatives to identify potential solutions.

At this event in the Scottish Parliament, MSPs discussed the findings with our staff, spoke to campaigners about their experiences and participated in activities to learn more about the impact of arthritis.

Speeches were also given by our host MSP, Rachael Hamilton, Versus Arthritis Scotland Director, Angela Donaldson-Bruce and campaigner, Stephanie Parker.

Sharing personal experiences

17-year-old, Stephanie, who was diagnosed with arthritis at age three said: “It was a privilege to be able to speak to influential decision-makers at Versus Arthritis' event and I hope it will make a difference.

I have had arthritis since I was very young, and I have often felt worried about my future. But thanks to support from Versus Arthritis I’ve become more confident talking about my condition and can manage the impact of my symptoms better."

People with arthritis in Scotland need to be able to get the support they need, when they need it.


Angela Donaldson-Bruce, Scotland Director at Versus Arthritis said: “It was fantastic to see so many MSPs at our event in Parliament, hearing from people with arthritis about the impact of the condition on their working lives and the support that can make a difference.

“Arthritis and the pain it causes slowly intrudes on everyday life, affecting someone’s quality of life, independence, mental health and ability to work. But we know that most people with arthritis want to work, and many can with the right support. MSPs can help to shine a light on what more can be done.”

We would like to thank everyone who came to the event, and to all our campaigners who attended.

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