Wednesday, 13 October 2010

NRAS mark World Arthritis Day at 10 Downing Street

World Arthritis Day was Tuesday, 12 October and NRAS together with its members, health professionals and MPs have been working together to raise awareness of RA and of what needs to be done to improve outcomes for patients.

The theme of World Arthritis Day 2010 was ‘let’s work together’ so it is very appropriate that different people have been lending support to NRAS in its campaign for improvements in services for people with rheumatoid arthritis. With the 'let's work together' emphasis, NRAS were accompanied to Downing Street by members Jean Burke, Sarah Wallace and myself. 

Other members of NRAS had written to the Prime Minister, David Cameron describing their experiences of living with rheumatoid arthritis and on World Arthritis Day these were delivered to him at 10 Downing Street.

Left to right: Sarah Wallace (NRAS Member), David Amess MP, Bob Russell MP, Lynn Love (Director of Operations NRAS), Graham Stringer MP, Ailsa Bosworth (Chief Executive NRAS), Professor David Scott (Professor of Rheumatology and Chief Medical Advisor to NRAS), Helen Copeland (NRAS Member) and Jean Burke (NRAS Member) 

It has been a real privilege to be able to take members letters to Prime Ministers Office.  One of the key things from today was being able to raise awareness of Rheumatoid Arthritis, the impact it can have on people and that it is not just part of the ageing process.   As someone who has had Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis since the age of 2, it can be hard to feel you are old before your time.

We all made contact with our local MP's and asked for their support.  Not everyone was able to make it to Downing Street on the day but we hope that support will be forthcoming.  

Unfortunately I didn't get any response from my local MP so it was suggested that I ask Bob Russell, MP for Colchester.  He has already supported people with arthritis, by signing an Early Day Motion on the subject.  So with a last minute email, I asked if he could support NRAS.  The fact that it was a last minute request and he doesn't even represent my constituency, has shown such dedication to a cause that is close to my heart.

On behalf of myself and members of NRAS, I'd like to thank Bob Russell for his continuing support and commitment.

Bob Russell MP kindly agreed to meet NRAS Member Helen Copeland and put the spotlight on rheumatoid arthritis for World Arthritis Day 

Ailsa Bosworth (Chief Executive NRAS) handing the letters from NRAS Members into 10 Downing Street 

Open Letter to the UK Government

There has been excellent cross party support for our work as demonstrated by John Baron MP (Conservative), Adrian Sanders MP (Lib Dem) and Valerie Vaz MP (Labour) signing an open letter to the UK Government sent to a national newspaper. The MPs wrote “Today is World Arthritis Day and we the undersigned are using this day of global action to call on the UK Government to improve services for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.” To read the letter please click here.

Early Day Motion (EDM)

An EDM was tabled on World Arthritis Day and by 2pm that day already had eight signatures.

Please ask your MP to sign EDM 795. It is not specifically for World Arthritis Day so you can ask any time soon. You can see whether your MP has already signed the EDM at the following link:

If you are not sure who your MP is, you can find their details here

The EDM and the first eight MPs to sign can be seen below….


That this House commends the work of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society in supporting people with rheumatoid arthritis; notes that there are around 690,000 people with the condition in the UK and that the overall burden of the condition on the UK economy due to losses in productivity is almost £8 billion; further notes reports from the National Audit Office and Committee of Public Accounts underlining the need for co-ordinated, national action to improve outcomes for people with rheumatoid arthritis; and calls on hon. Members to support the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society's campaign to ensure that opportunities provided through the NHS reforms enable effective joint working between the NHS, public health and social care services and result in improved outcomes for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Mr Adrian Sanders
Mr Andrew Love
Dr Julian Huppert
Ian Mearns
Graham Stringer
Mr Charles Kennedy
Yvonne Fovargue
Annette Brooke

By the end of World Arthritis Day more than 50 MPs had offered their support for helping people with rheumatoid arthritis. This is fantastic and we thank them all.

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