Charities, the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and Arthritis Care have called on the health authorities to ensure that the funds available to access new treatments official guidelines, along with other measures. This campaign comes at time when there is growing concerns regarding the lack of trained staff to treat arthritis in Scotland as compared to other places in UK. They want every primary care trust to have a rheumatology team to assess patients and cash for recommended drugs.
It has been reported that there have been a series of meetings conducted by the
Scottish Society for Rheumatology to discuss the urgent need for consultants, nurses and allied health professionals. It was found in a survey that was conducted that on taking into account time rheumatologists also contributed to general medicine, there was the equivalent of almost 30 full-time consultant specialists in other parts of UK.
Dr Malcolm Steven, president of the society, said, "This is less than half the provision recommended by the British Society for Rheumatology which is itself frugal by Western European and North American standards. There is also considerable regional variation within Scotland and even allowing for cross boundary flow (patients receiving treatment in neighbouring health boards) two thirds of mainland boards have half the recommended provision or less. The shortfall is not made good by other health professionals . . . and all areas report shortages of rheumatology specialist nurses."
Campaigners have also warned that women are being largely neglected in their treatment of the condition. As many as ten woman MPs including Theresa May have joined with the 'arthritis charities' to push for a boost in funding and access to the latest treatment. Speaking at yesterday's campaign launch, Ailsa Bosworth of the National Society for Rheumatoid Arthritis said, "Women's voices need to be heard in the battle against this devastating disease."