If it’s so damn good for all of us, how about mandating (Insert your Barney Fwank joke here) that all congresspeople, senators, and federal employees must participate in it if it passes?
From yesterday’s London Daily Mail newspaper-
A 9-month wait for arthritis treatment: Delay can mean a lifetime of agony for victims
A GP (General practitioner- A doctor who is not a specialist, similar to a family doctor in the USA- B in B) examines a patient’s hand for signs of arthritis, but a report says many are not trained to know what help to offer.
Thousands of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers face a lifetime of agony because they are not being treated quickly enough, a report says.
Guidelines state that patients should receive treatment within three months of the first symptoms appearing.
But the average wait is nine months – and GPs are not trained well enough to know what help to offer.
There is no cure, but experts say that if arthritis is diagnosed in the first three months, drugs can be given which limit its progression. This means the disease will not be as painful as it would have been if the condition was diagnosed later.
The study by the National Audit Office found that patients do not know enough about the condition, and therefore delay going to see their GP.
Between half and three-quarters of people with symptoms wait more than three months before seeking medical help, and about a fifth delay for a year or more.
GPs lack the specialist knowledge required to diagnose the condition quickly, and on average it takes four visits before a patient is referred to a specialist for diagnosis and treatment, the report adds.
Its author, Chris Groom, said: ‘This is a nasty disease, a progressive auto-immune disease, which attacks otherwise healthy joints. Early symptoms are joint pain and stiffness and it leads to inflammation and loss of strength.
‘It also affects other parts of the body, such as the heart and lungs, and is also associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.’
The report found that the average length of time from the onset of symptoms to treatment has not improved in the past five years. Mr Groom said that services needed to be better coordinated and designed around people’s needs, including helping them remain in work.
Three-quarters of sufferers are of working age when diagnosed, meaning delays cost the economy almost £2billion a year – about £560million a year in NHS healthcare costs and £1.8billion in sick leave and work-related disability.
‘Once people fall out of the job market with this disease, it is very hard to get back in’, Mr Groom said.
The report also found that 50 per cent more people have rheumatoid arthritis than was previously thought.
Mr Groom added: ‘We estimate that 580,000 adults in England have the condition, which is higher than existing estimates of 400,000 for the UK, and that there are 26,000 new cases each year in England, compared to estimates of 12,000 for the UK.’
Neil Betteridge, chief executive of the charity Arthritis Care, said: ‘The report echoes what people with rheumatoid arthritis have been telling Arthritis Care for years.
‘Early diagnosis and referral for suitable treatment is crucial as it can stop this debilitating condition in its tracks.
‘We applaud the audit’s recommendations that the Department of Health and Primary Care Trusts replace their often scattergun delivery with joined-up services.’
Tory MP Edward Leigh, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, said the NHS needed to improve support services for people with arthritis.
Health minister Ann Keen said: ‘We welcome this report and will consider it carefully before responding.’