Toby Perkins MP
Toby Perkins MP

At a reception held by Versus Arthritis, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins found out more about their work and recent campaigns to support those affected by arthritis.

The Versus Arthritis team were keen to discuss the increased waiting times for people requiring joint replacement surgery. They told Toby that joint replacement surgeries can ease pain, improve mobility, and restore independence.

Currently in England 750,334 are waiting for trauma and orthopaedic treatment, including joint replacement surgery. As people have been waiting, they have told us their physical and mental health is suffering, their pain is worsening, and their independence is rapidly decreasing.

In February 2022, the NHS Elective Recovery Plan for England was published. This plan aimed to tackle the backlog of planned care that had arisen during the pandemic by setting targets to eliminate the longest waiters, improve communication with patients as they waited, expand capacity through the use of surgical hubs, and separate elective and emergency care.

In April 2022, YouGov polled people with arthritis to find out what they thought.

Of the 1560 people surveyed who had osteoarthritis or who are unsure of what type of arthritis they have:

  • 13% told us despite the measures included in elective recovery plans they still believed it would take over two years for them to receive the treatment they needed.
  • 39% said they would prefer to know the maximum waiting times that people have to wait for treatment rather than average waiting times
  • 41% said they would be willing to travel within their region/county for surgery, but many would require further support including travel assistance, information on the hospital and aftercare, accommodation and a carer to accompany them before they would be able to do so.

Toby stated “It was very powerful to hear from staff at Versus Arthritis how long waiting times for much-needed operations are affecting people living with arthritis and the impact it’s having on their everyday lives”.

He added “I’m a huge supporter of Versus Arthritis and the work that they do, and I’m pleased that one of their main offices is based in Chesterfield. It was great to attend their reception in Parliament to show my support for their hard work and to find out more about their current campaigns”.

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