MSP calls for more arthritis support

Rachael Hamilton MSP held a Member’s Debate on access to work for those living with rheumatoid arthritis.

Ms Hamilton spoke of her own experience of living with arthritis and how she wants to help those living with the condition to access their full potential.

Research from the charity, Versus Arthritis, found that more than 80 per cent of those with arthritis had experienced pain, fatigue and stiffness while at work.

In the Scottish Borders alone, almost 1,000 people live with rheumatoid arthritis and, of residents who are aged 45 and over, an estimated 6,300 have osteoarthritis of the hip and 10,400 have osteoarthritis of the knee.

Versus Arthritis also found the number who have stopped working because of arthritis has reached such a level that the employment gap between those with arthritis and those who have no health condition is 20 per cent. 

Fortunately, 36,470 people were helped by the Access to Work Scheme in 2015-16 across the UK.

Ms Hamilton is calling on both the Scottish and UK Governments to do more to support people living with arthritis to access work.

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:

“No aspect of life is perhaps more affected by arthritis than the ability to work. It is vitally important we help those living with this condition to access work effectively.

“In our 2017 manifesto, my party pledged to have 1 million more disabled people in work by the end of the decade. We planned to achieve that with help from the access to work scheme.

“During the debate I called for better promotion of access to work, a definition of “reasonable adjustments”, training for Jobcentre Plus staff and further reviews from the Scottish Government. These are not unreasonable asks, and the changes could make an extraordinary impact on someone’s life”.