Thank you for contacting me about rheumatoid arthritis.
Living with a long-term condition like rheumatoid arthritis has a significant impact upon a person's well-being and I'm glad the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society is raising awareness of this issue.
The guidance 'Rheumatoid arthritis in adults: management', has recently been updated by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This sets out best practice in the diagnosis, treatment, care and support of people with rheumatoid arthritis. It also recommends that patients should be offered psychological interventions.
For instance, relaxation, stress management and cognitive coping skills are suggested to help patients to adjust to living with their condition. I would urge anyone suffering with a long-term condition who is suffering with their mental wellbeing to speak to their general practitioner in the first instance. The guidance can be accessed on the NICE website at this address.
I agree that work is really important for ensuring that people with arthritis are able to lead fulfilling lives. As part of the Green Paper on work, health and disability, Ministers have explored ways to improve support for people with conditions such as arthritis to find and remain in work. It is also important to work more closely with employers to raise awareness of issues around disabilities and health conditions, and to share best practice. The Disability Confident campaign has done great work in this area in recent years, and a new Disability Confident Business Leaders Group was announced in the Green Paper to work alongside ministers and officials to increase employer engagement around disabled employment.
I fully support the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society in their campaign to raise awareness of the issue, in particular through Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week, and I will continue to follow policy in this area and provide support for my constituents suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis wherever possible.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP