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Arthritis care "must be a priority"

Campaigners in Scotland have said that greater priority should be given to a crippling disease which affects thousands of people.

Arthritis groups and politicians made the call after the results of a survey of clinicians who specialise in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were published.

Some 48 specialist doctors, nurses and managers at 11 Scottish health boards took part in the online poll, which was commissioned by the Scottish Inflammatory Diseases and Rheumatology Industry Group (SIDRIG).

None of those questioned said that they felt that services for RA and associated conditions were a funding priority, with nearly 50% suggesting it was a low or fairly low priority.

The poll also found that more than 50% thought staffing levels within their team were "less than adequate" or "insufficient", while over 40% said there were budgetary restrictions on funding the most advanced treatment.

Chief executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), Ailsa Bosworth, said the results mirrored an NRAS survey in 2006.

She said: "It is disappointing to see that RA still gets little priority at a national level in spite of the severity of the condition.

"I hope that the Scottish government will take note of the results in this report and give greater priority to this serious and disabling disease in future."

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National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society

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