Sheffield Attercliffe MP, Clive Betts, met Lynn Love, Director of Operations from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, at a World Arthritis Day special event to discuss the impact rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has on people’s working lives.
RA is an incredibly painful disease that affects 580,000 people in England and can cause severe disability. It mainly affects the joints but can impact on other organs. 65% of people with RA have to give up work as a result of their condition.
Clive Betts said:
“People with rheumatoid arthritis want and should have the right to work and contribute to society. Three quarters of people are of working-age when they are diagnosed with RA1. It is therefore vital that these individuals have access to the services they need to help them stay in work. We must also raise awareness amongst local employers in Sheffield about the importance of creating flexible and accessible workplace environments to assist employees with long-term conditions, such as RA to stay in work.”
42% of people with RA are registered disabled within three years and four fifths are moderately to severely disabled within 20 years of diagnosis. The condition can shorten life expectancy from around 6-10 years and can have a major impact on a person’s life as well as impacting on the rest of the family.
Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive and founder of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society commented:
“Policymakers must consider the economic burden imposed on individuals, families and society if people with RA are unable to work. Over a lifetime this can result in lost earnings for the individual totalling £287,544. GP education about the signs and symptoms of RA is critical to ensuring individuals are diagnosed early, have access to the most appropriate treatments, rehabilitation and ongoing care so that they can rejoin or be retained in the workforce.”Other news from Sheffield Labour