Sunderland MP backs project for arthritis sufferers

MP Sharon Hodgson backing arthritis event.
MP Sharon Hodgson backing arthritis event.

A city MP is backing a campaign to ensure all sufferers from arthritis get the help they need.

MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon Hodgson, took part in an event in Parliament to hear about life with the condition and learn how aids and adaptions in the home can help people live independently.

I urge people to reach out to Arthritis Research UK for expert information, help and advice

Sharon Hodgson MP

Arthritis Research UK is calling on local authorities to ensure people with arthritis are assessed and provided with aids and minor adaptations free of charge.

The charity is also calling on central government to support local authorities to meet these duties.

Following the launch of the charity’s Room to Manoeuvre report, which looks at the provision of aids and adaptations for people with arthritis, Mrs Hodgson was among the MPs who heard from sufferers how equipment had changed their lives.

They were told about the findings from the report, which revealed that many people aren’t getting the support they’re entitled to.

The Wearside MP said: “4,150 people in Washington and Sunderland West are living with osteoarthritis of the hip, 7,223 with osteoarthritis of the knee and 14,605 with back pain, so I wanted to show my support for them in Parliament and hear from people with arthritis about the help that makes a difference to their lives.

“Aids and adaptations in the home can help people to remain independent for longer and I want to make sure that people with arthritis in Washington and Sunderland West know about the support on offer. I urge people to reach out to Arthritis Research UK for expert information, help and advice.”

Arthritis and related conditions are the number one cause of pain and disability in the UK, affecting 17.8 million people across the country. Many people with arthritis live with severe pain, fatigue and limited mobility every day, which make even simple tasks a challenge.

Aids and adaptations, such as grab rails, raised toilet seats and non-slip shower mats, help people with arthritis to lead more independent lives and may reduce the risk of them needing more expensive formal care or even A and E services.

Almost everyone, 95%, with arthritis surveyed by Arthritis Research UK who currently uses aids and adaptations said this help improved their quality of life.

Local authorities have a legal duty to provide aids and adaptations to those who are eligible, but the report found 84% are missing out on life-changing equipment and more than half are buying equipment themselves.