Campaigns

Get involved testHealthcare policy – that sounds a bit heavy doesn't it? Not very interesting? Not much to do with you?

Wrong.

It has a lot to do with you. It has a lot to do with whether you are getting the health services you need, when you need them.

Decisions made by the Scottish Government, by Health Boards and by local units, can all determine how long you have to wait for an appointment – with a GP, a hospital consultant, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a podiatrist – or how long you have to wait to get the right drug treatments or other procedures.

Other decisions can – and will – affect the level of benefit you can claim, or whether you are eligible for benefits at all. Also, issues to do with transport – buses or taxis, which are adapted so that you can use them – and proper enforcement of disabled parking places. Or simply whether you are given – or can readily access – the information you need to best manage your condition and your life.

All of these things matter. That is why Arthritis Care’s campaigning work is so important ­– and why we need your help to make it more effective.

We work hard to keep track of decisions which are being made in the Scottish Parliament, in the Scottish Government and at many other levels. We try to make sure that those decisions take account of the needs of people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. Some current issues are mentioned below. But we need your help in two important ways.

Firstly – let us know what is happening in your area. Are waiting times getting longer in your local hospital? Are you, and people like you, getting the services you need, when you need them?

Secondly – help us raise national issues with your elected representatives in the Scottish Parliament and to take up the local issues which only you can effectively raise by talking to your local hospital, papers or councillors about the needs of people with arthritis in your community.

We will be working to build up the information available to you through this site. We want to hear about what matters to you and what is affecting you, and we want to help give you the resources to make a difference on those issues.

For more information about Arthritis Care’s campaigns please contact Alan McGinley, Arthritis Care policy and Engagement Manager for Scotland.

Access to disability related advice and support

People with arthritis have expressed increased concerns about changes to disability-related benefits – in particular Disability Living Allowance (DLA), PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and disabled parking permits.

Arthritis Care Scotland collected evidence about how the recent changes were affecting people. Results of our survey highlighted the difficulties people with arthritis experience completing the claim forms or sourcing help with their claims.

The complexity and length of the forms can be daunting. Advice agencies offer support to individuals making a claim or appealing a decision. However, staff within these agencies often do not have, and cannot be expected to have, in-depth knowledge of all conditions that service users present to them.

People with arthritis experience a range of symptoms, which can vary in severity, such as pain, fatigue, limited mobility, anxiety and disability. Many of these symptoms are not visible, therefore communicating the impact the condition has on your ability to carry out everyday tasks can be challenging. This can result in an application that does not sufficiently convey the reality of living with arthritis.

Targeted information and support is needed to enable people to effectively communicate how their condition affects them. Information is needed for advice agency staff to improve their understanding of the condition.

With these resources, people with arthritis and advice staff will be better informed and have the information they need to make an effective claim.

For more information contact Maureen at Maureenm@arthritiscare.org.uk

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