It’s time for MPs to take arthritis seriously

12 July 2023
Versus Arthritis campaigners and staff at parliamentary event

Ken, Toni and Charlotte at parliamentary event

Campaigners Toni, Charlotte and Ken recently joined Versus Arthritis staff at an event in Westminster to call on politicians to start taking arthritis seriously. 

At the event, they spoke to over 80 Members of Parliament (MPs) and their teams from all four nations – sharing what it’s like living with arthritis, day in day out.

They shone a light on the challenges they – and so many people living with arthritis – face in the UK today.  

They told MPs that all too often their pain, fatigue and feelings of isolation are dismissed. 

"Arthritis is frequently ignored as irrelevant" - Ken, 64, who has osteoarthritis. 

Like Toni, Charlotte and Ken, Versus Arthritis won’t stop calling on MPs to take action until everyone with arthritis gets the treatment and support they need to live the lives they choose. 

Waiting times remain a big issue

Smiling Toni at parliamentary eventHealth and care staff are doing everything they can to bring waiting times down for treatments like joint replacement surgery, but this remains a big issue for many people living with arthritis.

"I was able to advocate for people who are being let down by long waiting times and delays in joint replacement surgery. This is having a huge impact on people’s physical and emotional wellbeing." - Toni, 34, who has degenerative arthritis. 

Joint replacement surgery can be life changing. It can help restore a person’s mobility, confidence and independence.  

But despite government plans to bring waiting times down across the UK, and progress in some areas, more needs to be done to keep waiting times under control everywhere.

Too many people with arthritis are being forced to put their lives on hold while they wait – often in agony – for the treatment and support they deserve. 

We’re calling on MPs to take action  

Smiling Ken at parliamentary event

MPs have an important role to play in bringing down waiting times in their local areas. MPs need to understand how serious it can be in order to drive meaningful change.

They can influence local leaders and hold them to account on their plans and commitments.

At the event, Toni, Charlotte and Ken asked MPs to work in partnership with local leaders to tackle the waiting list backlog.

They asked them to make sure that local plans look to remove barriers to surgery and include a package of support for people with arthritis while they wait. 

So, what’s next?  

Smiling Charlotte at parliamentary eventOur Impossible to Ignore campaign will continue to push for waiting times to be brought down everywhere.

We will continue to campaign for politicians across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to understand how serious arthritis can be for so many – and take urgent action.  

"I hope that people living with arthritis will become a much higher priority at both a local and national level. 10 million people deserve to have their voices heard!"- Charlotte, 33, who has psoriatic arthritis. 

Join Toni, Charlotte and Ken in keeping the pressure up by joining Versus Arthritis’ Campaigns Network and pushing for the change the 10 million people living with arthritis deserve.

"I would 100% encourage anyone with arthritis, or anyone that cares for someone living with arthritis, to get involved with Versus Arthritis." - Charlotte, 33, who has psoriatic arthritis.