We're calling on the UK Government to tackle NHS waiting times. Will you join us? 

12 June 2024
Roberta standing in her living room wearing yellow beaded necklace and black top

Imagine waiting for a desperately needed surgery and living day in, day out, with pain. Then imagine you’ve been told that you might need to wait months, if not years, for this life-changing treatment.

That’s the agonising reality for so many people with arthritis waiting for treatment. Worryingly, there are now around one million cases waiting for trauma and orthopaedic treatments across the UK

75-year-old Roberta, who lives with osteoarthritis, had to wait in pain for over a year for her hip replacement. 

“For over a year, everything was a challenge: getting up, cooking, going to the loo, opening the wardrobe,” says Roberta.

“I could walk a yard or two with a stick, but it was so painful - my life was on hold and that was very depressing. We were offered no support, so my partner had to do everything, and that was so hard on him.”

“Having my surgery feels like an enormous weight has been lifted off our shoulders. But the long wait to get here means my recovery isn't as quick as it might have been... I just want to get my life back."

Roberta, 75, who lives with osteoarthritis

Tackling waiting times for people living with arthritis

No one should have to put their life on hold waiting for routine treatments. 

That’s why we’re calling on the next UK Government to do more to bring down waiting times for people with arthritis.

But we can’t do this alone. Join the thousands of others in our community campaigning to create change and calling on the next UK Government to do more to tackle long waiting times.

It’s time for the next UK Government to take arthritis seriously. Together, we can make them listen.

Join us now


Why are NHS waiting lists so long?

During times of increased pressure on the NHS, planned care like hip and knee replacements are cancelled first, resulting in even longer waits for treatment.

Such delays significantly impact people’s physical and mental health, affecting all aspects of daily life. This needs to urgently change.

What must the next UK Government do to tackle NHS waiting lists?

The next UK Government could address long waiting times by:

  • Publishing a comprehensive long-term plan to reduce waiting times, including improving the quality of published data.
  • Reducing waiting times by protecting orthopaedic capacity through ringfencing staff, resources and facilities, using schemes like surgical hubs.
  • Improving communication and support for people with arthritis to help them stay as well as they can while they wait for treatment.
Email your candidate


“UK-wide delays to life-changing treatment and support, like joint replacement surgery, are leaving too many people with arthritis waiting years in pain. It is unacceptable that anyone should be made to live with the devastating impact this can have on their mental health, finances, and relationships”

Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Versus Arthritis.

Images of people living with arthritis and text that reads '10 million reasons to take arthritis seriously'

Our manifesto for people with arthritis

Alongside tackling waiting times, we’re also calling on the next UK Government to:

  • Ensure arthritis is a priority in national health plans including improved data.
  • Increase funding into musculoskeletal research to match its severe impact.
  • Improve work-related support for people with arthritis.
  • Strengthen care and support for children and young people with arthritis.
Read our manifesto in full


We’re here for you

Waiting for treatment can leave some people feeling isolated, worried and unsure where to turn.

But remember, you’re not alone. We’re here for you.

If you need more advice or support, you can always:

Staying active is also important if you’re waiting for or recovering from surgery. That’s because, if you are fit and strong, your surgery has the best chance of success, and your recovery will likely be quicker.

To help you get started, we created Let’s Move for Surgery.

This toolkit is packed with tailor-made follow along exercise routines specially designed people waiting or recovering from surgery.

Find out more about Let’s Move for Surgery