MPs say government must boost local physical activity services to tackle arthritis

It is ‘crucial’ for the government to ensure people can access effective, local physical activity services, said Strangford MP Jim Shannon, leading parliament’s first debate on arthritis for five years.


Government can play a key role in pushing back the limits of arthritis for the 10 million people living with the condition

‘I hope colleagues from all parties will join me in calling for a National Audit Office review of physical activity services for people with osteoarthritis so that services help people across the UK to maintain good musculoskeletal health,’ Mr Shannon said during the debate on 20 October.

Health promotion messages should emphasise the benefits of physical activity for people with musculoskeletal conditions, he said.

In addition, he said that when programmes targeting lifestyle factors, such as obesity and physical inactivity, are designed and delivered, their impact on musculoskeletal health should be explicitly included.

Greater focus

His messages were echoed by other MPs. They joined him in calling for a greater focus on the prevention of arthritis and supporting scientists to find more effective treatments, diagnosis and a cure for arthritis.

As part of his response, health minister David Mowat said there was a need for high-quality clinical guidance to diagnose and manage arthritis.

On the issue of physical activity, he said: ‘Fitness and exercise are of course a preventive measure for nearly everything, particularly for MSK diseases.’

Olivia Belle, Arthritis Research UK director, said: ‘MPs and the government can play a key role in pushing back the limits of arthritis for the 10 million people living with arthritis across the UK.

‘This year we’re asking people to share their everyday with us, to help us continue to harness the power of exceptional science and push back the limits of arthritis.’


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