24 April 2023

Today we have launched our new campaign, The People We Need: Our plan to grow the Rheumatology Workforce and enable excellent care. The campaign combines years of research into ourfirst ever ‘Manifesto’ for service provision and sets out the number of rheumatology specialists needed to enable excellent care, both today and in the years to come.

As a part of the campaign, new and cutting-edge health economics modelling is set to be published by us in the coming weeks. The modelling will evidence that investment in rheumatology specialists would save the health service much needed resources by improving the speed of diagnosis and starting treatment for patients, therefore reducing the cost burden of their long-term treatment and enabling them to live fuller and more active lives.

Speaking about the launch of the campaign our President Dr Sanjeev Patel said:

“Against the odds and in an environment of understaffing, rheumatology specialists across the UK are providing life improving care to millions of people living with rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions. Our clinical members see every day the transformative power of the specialist therapies we provide for our patients. But access to services isn’t equitable and the fact remains that there is a critical shortage of staff across the rheumatology Multi-Disciplinary Team.

With the launch of this campaign, BSR is making both the ethical and economic case for investment in our speciality and making specific and evidenced recommendations for political stakeholders to adopt into their five-year plans for government. Our patients make up one in four of the total UK population and together, with one voice, we hope to advocate for rheumatology services to get 'The People We Need'.”

To launch the campaign we are combining with clinical speciality groups and patient charities across the rheumatology and musculoskeletal sector to call on political parties and candidates to adopt a joint pledge ahead of the next general election, which is expected to take place in the spring of 2024. The pledge, detailed in full in our manifesto, will commit political stakeholders to advocate for investment in the rheumatology workforce.

Dale Webb, CEO of the National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society, one of the patient charities supporting the campaign said:

“We want to ensure that people with axial Spondyloarthritis and other rheumatic conditions can live their best life. That means early diagnosis and effective treatment and care – every patient, every time.
To achieve this, we need a rheumatology workforce with the capacity and skills to provide critical support. The current rheumatology workforce crisis is imperilling patient care and safety and needs urgently to be addressed.”

You can support our campaign by taking our e-action and contacting your local MP.

You can read the full ‘manifesto’ The People We Need: Our plan to grow the Rheumatology workforce and enable excellent care here.

Watch the launch of our campaign short film, Living Free below:

Take our e-action here