HELP with crippling arthritis problems is now on offer to Wearsiders at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
A peer support group will be at the Royal every month to talk about the debilitating illness.
There are more than 200 different types of arthritis and it’s estimated that 10 million people in the UK suffer from the condition, which means “inflammation of the joints”.
According to the NHS, there are also 12,000 under 16s who have arthritis. Similar groups have been on offer in Gateshead, but organisers say it is long overdue Sunderland had this type of support.
The group held an awareness event at the Chester Wing of Sunderland Royal Hospital, to let sufferers know that they are available to contact for support and advice,
“The volunteers offer advice, support and free literature,” said Doreen Chard-Crosby, of Lakeside Village, who has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for the past 11 years.
Doreen added members feel more awareness should be raised about the condition so sufferers can be diagnosed, and get treatment, quicker.
“My symptoms happened late one afternoon and I couldn’t even walk up the stairs,” added Doreen.
“My sons were there at the time and they got a real shock. We want to stress that it’s very important for you to go and see your GP.”
The peer support group is at Sunderland Royal’s Chester Wing on the last Thursday of every month.
The group itself meets on the first Wednesday of every month at the Royal’s Education Centre, from 6pm to 8pm. There are no meetings in August.