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National Audit Office

Volume 715: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the National Audit Office report on services to people with rheumatoid arthritis. [HL796]

The department welcomes the National Audit Office’s report into National Health Service provision of services for people with rheumatoid arthritis. The Government are committed to improving care and outcomes for all people with long-term conditions, including people with rheumatoid arthritis.

For example, the department has published a good practice commissioning pathway for inflammatory arthritis which supports clinicians in identifying cases of rheumatoid arthritis and ensuring that they are set on the right pathway of care. This describes key symptoms, for example where patients should be referred for urgent treatment.

The pathway is also aimed at supporting local implementation of good practice, to improve efficiency, reduce delays, and improve quality of service provision in a safe and effective way.

The department has also published Your health, your way—a guide to long term conditions and self care which provides people living with long-term conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, with information about the choices that should be available to them locally to enable them to self care in partnership with health and social care professionals. The guide can be found on the NHS Choices website at:

The department gave evidence to the Committee of Public Accounts on the National Audit Office’s report on 23 November and the Government will formally respond to the Committee's report following its publication.