Arthritis isn’t just an older person’s issue – it affects people of all ages and proper diagnosis and treatment is essential. Reducing pain doesn’t just benefit people with arthritis, but also has a longer term benefit for the economy. Arthritis Care’s Election Manifesto sets out a number of measures that will achieve better outcomes.

Arthritis Care calls on the Northern Ireland Assembly to reject any future proposals to reintroduce prescription charges – unless it can guarantee protection for people with arthritis and other long term conditions who have multiple prescriptions.

The organisation also calls for an increased focus on diagnosis of Osteoarthritis and other non-inflammatory forms of arthritis within primary care, as these are too often dismissed as ‘wear and tear’ by GPs. Early access to disease modifying treatment and new drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis is also a key priority which demands reduced waiting times for rheumatology appointments. Early diagnosis and referral to improved pain pathways and self-management programmes have been evidenced to improve outcomes for people with arthritis.

Arthritis Care is firmly behind the principles outlined in the Donaldson Report and Transforming Your Care and calls for their implementation as a matter of urgency.

You can read the manifesto here.