Huppert discovers cost of crippling disease

July 2, 2010 1:20 PM
Huppert and Janet Snell rheumatoid arthritis society

Julian Huppert joins Jenny Snell from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.

Members of a leading charity met Cambridge MP Julian Huppert to explain how a crippling disease affects not only the health of the city's residents but the health of the economy.

Julian was told that rheumatoid arthritis costs every parliamentary constituency in the UK around £12 million in lost productivity - a total of almost £8 billion. In Cambridge £9.10 per head of population is spent on dealing with the disease.

Members of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society said the chronic and disabling condition affects around 690,000 people in the UK and has no known cause or cure. Almost 30 per cent of sufferers gave up work within a year of being diagnosed, 2007 figures show.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee revealed that there are significant variations in spending on the condition and the quality of services people receive across the country. Earlier diagnosis and treatment could not only limit progression of the disease, but deliver significant savings for the NHS and wider economy, Julian was told.

He said: "It is imperative that we not only make sure that the people suffering from this chronic condition receive all the specialist help and treatment they deserve, but that we provide that help early so that we make it cost effective.

"I commend the NRAS for raising this issue and I will be contacting Cambridge Primary Care Trust to find out what it is doing to tackle both the health and economic burden of this disease."

Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive of NRAS said: "We urge the government to address the recommendations from the Public Accounts Committee as a priority."

What would you like to do next?