Arthritis Sufferer In Jobs Campaign

A Welsh woman with rheumatoid arthritis is backing a campaign to help fellow sufferers get back to work after a survey found that a third of them lose their jobs because of the disease.

Figures from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society NRAS show that 29% of sufferers were forced to give up work early. And 86% of them had experienced or expected barriers to prevent them from staying in work from their employers.

Claire Tattersall, from Pembroke, first developed rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 14. Her symptoms were not recognised by her GP until she was in her mid-20s and she eventually had to give up work.

She feels the delay in diagnosis and consequently in treatment affected her ability to work and led to her losing her home. She said, “Getting drugs earlier would have helped keep my home, which was repossessed, as I would have been able to work and pay my mortgage.”

The Working With Rheumatoid Arthritis Taskforce today launches its manifesto containing five recommendations to government to help many of the 600,000 people who suffer from this disease to stay in work.

Paul Emery, taskforce chairman and Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Leeds, said, “We are calling today on the Government to ensure that funding, access and support is made available for the newer treatments, in line with NICE guidance.”