More than 500,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are contending with inadequate healthcare services, a report has claimed.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks their own healthy tissues.
Arthritis Care says that the majority of recommendations made three years ago by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are yet to be implemented, resulting in a failure to improve rates of diagnosis and boost awareness of the disease among GPs.
More than 50 per cent of patients visit their GP more than three times before being referred to a rheumatology specialist, the charity’s report suggests.
And nine in ten patients do not believe the NHS is doing enough to ensure the disease is diagnosed at an early stage, when treatment is likely to be most effective.