Our Impossible to Ignore campaign: working together for changes in healthcare

11 August 2020
A lady sat in an armchair, holding the back of her neck in pain.
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We recently launched our campaign, Impossible to Ignore, calling on all UK governments to make sure the needs of people with arthritis are addressed as they plan to restart treatment and services.

You may have even already seen or heard the campaign mentioned on television, radio and online across the UK.

Help us take action

Since our launch in July, our Impossible to Ignore campaign has featured on leading news programmes in Scotland (Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland).

We’ve featured on the main BBC evening news (Newsline) in Northern Ireland, and Richard Holmes, one of our case studies, who has been waiting for a hip replacement since October 2019 was interviewed on the BBC Radio Kent Breakfast Show.

The campaign has reached up to 7 million people through press activity. We’ve also reached almost 200,000 people across social media.

Together with the hard work of supporters in sharing the campaign, this has led to almost 15,000 people signing our petition calling for a nation plan to restart joint replacement surgeries and bring down waiting lists safely.

If you haven’t already, please sign our petition today.

The pain of arthritis is impossible to ignore

12,000 emails have been sent to politicians in Westminster and the devolved parliaments and assemblies across the UK, asking them to support the campaign and write to their local NHS Trusts about plans to ensure that people with arthritis aren’t forgotten.

Trusts, working with GP practices, should ensure that, between them, every patient whose planned care has been disrupted by COVID-19 receives clear communication about how they will be looked after, and who to contact in the event that their clinical circumstances change.

Clinically urgent patients should continue to be treated first, with next priority given to the longest waiting patients, specifically those breaching or at risk of breaching 52 weeks by the end of March 2021.

25 MPs have since been in touch to get involved with the campaign and many are taking further action by:

  • responding to constituents
  • writing to the local NHS Trust
  • tabling Parliamentary Questions on our behalf
  • posting on social media in support of the campaign
  • signing up as an Arthritis Champion.

Impossible to Ignore is a UK-wide campaign

As healthcare is a devolved issue, we’ve been working hard in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that the pain of arthritis is not ignored as COVID-19 recovery continues.

Scotland

Since the launch of the campaign, 10 Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) have contacted us for more information about the campaign and to let us know that they’ve contacted their local Health Boards.

This includes the health spokespeople of all five major parties at Holyrood. (SNP, Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party).

In addition:

  • A motion supporting the campaign has been tabled in the Scottish Parliament and a number of MSPs have asked questions in parliament based on our campaign.
  • We’re thrilled that an MSP has had article published in his local paper about our campaign, explaining why he’s supporting our work and contacting his local Health Board.
  • We have meetings lined up with the Green Party and Liberal Democrat Health spokespeople to discuss the campaign.

Wales

There’s been an incredible amount of action with the campaign in Wales.

Members of the Senedd (MS) have received a huge number of emails from our brilliant campaigners, many have written to their local Health Boards and will keep us updated with any responses. One MS has submitted a written question to the Health Minister.

A number of MSs are keen to work with us to support our campaign, and to make sure the needs of people with arthritis are reflected in their parties' manifestos for the Welsh Parliament elections next year.

In addition:

  • We’ve seen members supporting the campaign on social media and promoting our helpline and support services to their constituents.
  • There’s been an excellent response from the clinical community to the campaign. A number of health professional bodies have agreed to work with us to further develop recommendations to better support people with arthritis waiting longer for treatments due to the pandemic.
  • The majority of Health Boards in Wales have been in touch to welcome input from Cymru Arthritis with their pandemic recovery planning. 

Also, we've been invited to be part of a working group set up by the Welsh Government on access to joint replacement surgery, and we’ve been invited to the Welsh Government Orthopaedic Board in August.

Northern Ireland

8 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) have been in touch to express their support for the campaign and they have agreed to raise issues with their local Health Trusts.

Two written Assembly Questions expressing support for the campaign calls have been submitted, and the campaign issue were raised directly with Trust CEOs at the Health Committee.

One MLA has been in direct communication Minister for Health, raising the issues that we have raised in the campaign, and will be keeping us up to date with any response. Many MLAs have received emails from constituents with arthritis.

Get involved

It’s been an incredibly exciting first few weeks of the campaign across the UK, and as lockdown continues to ease and steps towards COVID-19 recovery continue to be taken, we’ill continue pushing to keep arthritis on the agenda.

People with arthritis can’t ignore their pain. And we need to let the government and the NHS know that neither can they.

Please add your voice to our Impossible to Ignore petition and share the petition with friends and family on Facebook or Twitter.

We’re here for you

If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you.

  • If you would like to talk to someone, you can call our free helpline on 0800 5200 520 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm)
  • Chat to COVA, our COVID-19 Virtual Assistant, using the purple icon in the bottom right corner of this page.
  • Join our online community
  • Stay in touch and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.