Even if you don’t suffer from arthritis yourself, the condition affects every one of us.

"One in five GP appointments are taken up by people who have arthritis."

If you need to use the NHS, for example, the costs of your treatment will come from the same pot that this year will spend over £10 billion on some forms of the condition; one in five GP appointments are taken up by people who have arthritis. 

Over the next decade, the total cost to the NHS and wider healthcare system of treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis alone is expected to total just shy of £120bn. That’s why Arthritis Research UK is working to provide more support to health professionals, and is calling for arthritis to be recognised as a public health priority.

 

Beyond the health service

 

But arthritis does not just cost the health service: it has a significant impact on wider society.

"The two most common arthritis conditions are among the leading causes of sick days."

Accounting for 25.1 million lost working days per year, the two most common arthritis conditions are among the leading causes of sick days. “One in four people with arthritis leave work, or take retirement earlier than they would otherwise have planned. This represents a personal blow to the individual, a real loss of talent and potential contribution to the workplace, and millions of lost working days to the country,” she says.

 

Employers can help

 

Arthritis Research UK wants employers to be more aware that arthritis-related conditions are a significant workplace health issue, and find out more about simple adaptations that could help people stay in work for longer. 

Director of external affairs Olivia Belle says: “The solution starts with acknowledging the problem. We believe that, as more people come to understand the huge impact that arthritis has, more will be done to tackle the problem.”