Music for All supports National Arthritis Campaign


Industry charity endorses initiative to highlight the plight of the 10million affected people in the UK many of whom are musicians



Arthritis Research UK, the UK’s leading arthritis charity, is today launching a major nationwide campaign to reveal the true impact of arthritis across society. The campaign will highlight that, either directly or indirectly, arthritis impacts everyone in the UK. The campaign will also highlight that there are over 10 million people living with arthritis and the condition can cause high levels of daily pain and fatigue.

As part of the launch, Arthritis Research UK is releasing The Nation’s Joint Problem report which reveals the current and future impact of two major forms of the condition, osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), on the economy, the NHS as well as families and individuals across the UK.

The report’s key findings include:

  • Impact on the economy: Working days lost due to OA and RA will increase from 25.1 million today to 25.9 million by 2030, equating to an annual £3.43 billion productivity hit to the economy. By 2050 these figures will increase to 27.2 million working days and, an annual cost of £4.74 billion.
  • Impact on the health service: The estimated cost to the NHS and the wider healthcare system, on OA and RA, currently stands at £10.2 billion. Over the course of the next decade, an estimated £118.6 billion will be spent on the condition.
  • Impact on individuals: One-in-six people currently have OA and RA, and this is predicted to rise to one-in-five by 2050; and
  • Impact on families: More than three-quarters (76%) of people with all types of arthritis say that their family and social lives are compromised by the condition, and over half (53%) feel they are a nuisance to their families. More than a third of people with the condition (28%) report a negative effect on physical intimacy with their partners.

Arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe painful conditions that affect the bones, muscles and joints in all parts of the body. Even though nine-in-ten people with arthritis (88%) describe it as a debilitating and life-restricting condition, the report reveals the condition is largely “invisible” from the public. This is because:

  • It is hidden: 78% of people with arthritis think others don’t understand the impact of the condition on their lives because they don’t look seriously affected;
  • It has a stigma: 86% of people with arthritis try hard not to let arthritis define them or their personality; and
  • It is dismissed as “an old person’s disease”: even though arthritis impacts people of all ages, 89% of people living with it believe the condition is viewed by society as “an old person’s disease”. It is dismissed as being an inevitable, and even an acceptable, part of getting older.

Underpinning the campaign is an effort to improve society’s understanding of the condition and its impact. Currently, only four-in-ten (42%) people see the condition as a major public health issue. And, although arthritis is the leading cause of pain and disability in the UK, currently nearly two-thirds (63%) are not aware of the scale of its physical impact.

Liam O’Toole, Chief Executive of Arthritis Research UK, said:

There is a complete mismatch between the enormous impact arthritis has on individuals, their families and society and the attention, priority and resources society currently gives to it. As a result, people with arthritis do not get the help or support that they need. We are all losing out. Whether it’s an employer who loses out on the skills of an employee, a child who misses out on playing with their parents or grandparents, the strain on the NHS’s resources, or someone with arthritis who is trying to get through every day in pain, the impact of arthritis is being felt across the whole of society.

One of the root causes of this is the condition’s invisibility. Change will only come if we can win acknowledgement that there is a problem in which we all have a stake. Today we have taken an important step in changing the way the nation sees this major public health issue.”

Paul McManus, CEO of Music for All, said:

“Making Music brings enjoyment to so many people’s lives, whether they’re a member of an orchestra, play in a rock band or are just starting piano lessons. But for some, life can throw hurdles which makes doing the thing you love difficult – and arthritis does exactly that. That’s why we want to raise awareness of this silent, painful and debilitating disease, so that people will better understand it and give people the support they need.”

Anne Kearl, 55, who has osteoarthritis, said:

“Pain is normal to me. It’s always there.  I may paint a smile on my face, but I will be hurting all over. It’s had a big impact on my mental health; pain and depression feed off each other and in my experience, it’s hard to separate them out a lot of the time. I never know when I wake up if I’m going to have a good day or a ‘just got to get through it’ day. That’s the reality for me of living with arthritis.

Because arthritis is invisible people other than my family don’t see the reality. When friends and colleagues can’t physically see anything wrong with you, they assume you’re OK and often I let people think that rather than be honest about my arthritis.”

Matthew Taylor, Director, York Health Economics Consortium, said:

“Our research highlights just how significant that impact is, and the fact that it’s set to increase. It’s imperative that we all understand arthritis better, so that we can take the necessary steps to help people living with it.”

Julian Worricker, journalist and broadcaster, said:

“Before my diagnosis in my thirties, I thought of arthritis as something that only affected older people. Living with arthritis makes even the most mundane tasks difficult but it’s made that much harder when people around you don’t understand what you’re going through. That’s why raising awareness is so important. The more we understand how the condition impacts us all, the more we can support people living with it.”

The #jointproblem advertising campaign will be aired on national TV, out-of-home, digital and social media. It will call for people to find out the facts about arthritis and its effects by searching online.

The campaign is being backed by an alliance of high-profile organisations and individuals, including: Oscar-nominated actress and star of Maudie, Sally Hawkins, Paralympic athlete Pamela Relph, the Rugby Player’s Association, the charity Music for All and the Forum for Private Business.

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