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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Volume 561: debated on Tuesday 16 April 2013

16. What steps the Government plans to take to improve public awareness of the signs and symptoms of early rheumatoid arthritis. (150779)

We have made earlier diagnosis a clear objective in our mandate to the NHS. It is for NHS England and local commissioners to undertake appropriate awareness campaigns on arthritis. We very much welcome the appointment of Professor Peter Kay as the first national clinical director of musculoskeletal disease to advise on specific initiatives.

I thank the Minister for his reply. May I ask him for another meeting to discuss this very important matter and take forward further action on it?

The meetings are stacking up, but I would love to meet the hon. Lady. She should just get in touch with my office and we will get it arranged.

I will spare my hon. Friend a meeting, but will he tell me what evidence there is to suggest that there was more awareness and earlier diagnosis when spa towns such as Harrogate and Bath provided spa facilities for those most badly affected by rheumatism and arthritis?

My hon. Friend makes an extremely interesting point. Although I have not agreed to meet her, I would be happy to have an informal discussion with her at some later stage.