I know that arthritis can be a very painful and debilitating condition, and I recognise that living with a long-term condition, such as arthritis, has a significant impact upon a person’s wellbeing, especially during this pandemic.
While it has unfortunately been necessary to postpone some NHS activities at times to protect individuals and ensure resources are used as efficiently as possible, I know that ministers and NHS staff are determined to restart elective procedures whenever it is safe to do so. I was delighted when NHS services began restarting from the end of April, and I believe it is vital that we keep the virus under control this winter so that the NHS has the capacity to keep treating COVID and non-COVID patients alike.
More broadly, I know that there are many treatments that can help slow arthritis down, including medicines and surgery, and I am pleased that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is presently working on updated guidance for treatment of osteoarthritis, which is due for publication following extensive consultation in 2022.
I hope that this new guidance, plus the landmark investment of an additional £33.9 billion into the NHS by 2023/24, and the clinical review of standards relating to waiting times that the NHS has been asked to undertake, will ensure that, as we emerge from this pandemic, treatment of arthritis in Cheadle and across the country will be truly world-class.