Arthritis support made easier for patients
Wednesday 01 September 2021
Supporting patients to Live Well with Arthritis is the aim of a free service on offer to patients across Northumberland.
Provided by charity Versus Arthritis, the shared decision-making service for people with osteoarthritis of the knee and/or hip aims to provide up-to-date information to help patients make decisions about all of their healthcare options, including pain relief, surgery and exercise, and to help them improve the management of their arthritis.
Living Well with Arthritis, which is supported by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has been running in the county for some time now, but was previously only accessible following a referral from a GP or the JMAPS service.
Now, however, patients with a diagnosis of knee/hip osteoarthritis can refer themselves, so long as they are registered with a GP in Northumberland. To self-refer, either register at https://www.versusarthritis.org/csnorthumberland or call 0300 790 0433.
All of Versus Arthritis’ services are free to attend and are run either virtually or face-to-face in local, accessible venues, with refreshments provided. Both one-to-one and group sessions are on offer alongside telephone support sessions.
They are delivered by trained volunteers, with personal experience of arthritis, alongside trained and expert staff, who discuss ways to manage osteoarthritis symptoms such as pain, talk about positive changes that could be made and give information on all healthcare options available.
Becky Shipley – Commissioned Services Manager – England from Versus Arthritis, said: “We aim to help patients feel more empowered to make informed decisions about their ongoing healthcare and take control of their life.
“Our services will provide you with high-quality support to help you live better with your arthritis by taking control of your care, learning to manage your pain and giving you access to the information you need to make informed decisions.
“We know that our support can enable patients to communicate effectively about arthritis affects their life, feel less isolated and increase their self-confidence.”
Across England, the charity has been running services since 2014 and has supported thousands of people, both those who have been recently diagnosed and those who have been living with osteoarthritis for some time.
One user said that they ‘obtained a better understanding of arthritis and the confidence to explain my situation to the consultant’, adding: “I am very grateful for all that.” Another said: “I find it hard to come to terms with this, but being able to get in touch with other sufferers through Versus Arthritis has helped, especially mentally.”
Dr John Warrington, medical director at NHS Northumberland CCG, said: “We feel that this is a valuable service that can provide useful additional support to patients living with this condition.
“GPs have been referring patients they think could benefit from this service, but if you believe it could help you then self-referral now provides an easy way for people to access what is on offer, with a choice of receiving one-to-one support or joining a group session.”
For more information, visit https://www.versusarthritis.org/csnorthumberland.