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Arthritis in Parliament

Published on 06 July 2017

Liam O'Toole giving a speech at the 2017 parliamentary receptionOn Tuesday 5 July, Arthritis Research UK held a parliamentary reception sponsored by Fiona Bruce MP. The event attracted more than 60 MPs, who came to find out more about how arthritis can impact their constituents.

MPs spoke to people living with arthritis, tried our interactive station which simulated the mobility restrictions arthritis can cause and learnt how many people in their local area may have the condition.

Campaigners share their experiences

Campaigners Christine Walker and Cat Priddey both attended the reception to speak to MPs about the realities of living with arthritis. Cat was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her spine eight years ago. She told us: "I’ve learned to self-manage my condition with exercise, which has enabled me to get back to leading a full life. I not only learned a lot at the reception but also had the chance to talk to a number of MPs about my journey and the importance of those with arthritis being able to get the right treatment or guidance at the right time.

"I explained that, in my case, being guided to the right kind of exercise early on – and sticking with it – has greatly reduced the possibility that I will need surgical intervention later on. I was also able to tell them, from first-hand experience, how living with a long-term condition can impact mental health and lead to social withdrawal and isolation."The MPs I spoke to were genuinely interested and wanted to learn. They were shocked at the numbers of people affected with some form of arthritis in the UK."Cat Priddey, who has osteoarthritis

"The MPs I spoke to were genuinely interested and wanted to learn. They were shocked at the numbers of people affected with some form of arthritis in the UK, and I hope I was able to help them increase their understanding."

Fiona Bruce MP and broadcaster Julian Worricker both spoke about the realities of living with arthritis, alongside Arthritis Research UK’s Chief Executive Officer Liam O’Toole, who described how the charity aims to help people living with musculoskeletal problems.

Campaigners and Arthritis Research UK staff at the 2017 parliamentary reception

Making sure that no one with arthritis is held back by their condition

Tracey Loftis, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Arthritis Research, said: "It was great to see so many MPs attend our parliamentary reception and learn more about how arthritis can affect people’s lives.

"We know that arthritis can have a detrimental impact on people’s ability to work and socialise, as well as affecting their mental health. We need politicians to do all they can to support people with arthritis who want to work, as well as those who are unable to, and to ensure they receive high-quality health and social care services.

"This event helped us increase our group of Arthritis Champions, who we hope will give a voice to people with arthritis in Parliament. Arthritis Research UK will continue to discuss these issues with decision makers to ensure that no one with arthritis is held back by their condition."

Get involved

In advance of the event, over 300 people emailed their MPs asking them to attend the reception. Many of the MPs who came said it was because their constituent had flagged the event with them. If you’d like to take part in this kind of activity, you can join our campaigner network quickly and easily.

You can also find out if your MP is an Arthritis Champion, and if not, ask them to be one. Just visit our Arthritis Champion campaign.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.