Care Minister praises Rheumatoid Arthritis Centre

Thursday 28 November 2013

Photo of Dr Bruce Kirkham, Norman Lamb and Laura Guest

Care Minister Norman Lamb praised the Rheumatoid Arthritis Centre at Guy’s Hospital today during a visit to meet patients and staff.

The minister presented staff with an award after the department was named as a centre of excellence by the British Society for Rheumatology.

He said: “It was great to meet the patients who are benefiting from the pioneering treatment at Guy’s Rheumatoid Arthritis Centre and to meet the staff behind this award-winning centre.

“We know patients with rheumatic diseases need fast and effective treatment and Guy’s Hospital is making sure that happens. We also know that early diagnosis is really important which is why the Department of Health is giving NHS trusts financial incentives to get patients with suspected inflammatory arthritis seen by a specialist within three weeks and treated within six weeks.”

During his visit, the minister observed the use of cutting edge ultrasound technology used to examine patients for signs of inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr Bruce Kirkham, consultant rheumatologist who guided the minister around the department, said: “We are thrilled to have received this recognition as a centre of excellence and to be presented with our award by Norman Lamb was an honour.

“It was great to talk to him about our work. He seemed very interested in what we had been doing and how it had helped our patients. The whole team has worked incredibly hard to be able to offer our patients the whole package of care that they need.”

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints. Hands, feet and wrists are commonly affected but it can also damage other parts of the body. If left untreated it can lead to the loss of function in affected areas.

The Rheumatoid Arthritis Centre helps to restore patients’ joints to normal function and prevents irreversible joint damage through early diagnosis and early treatment of the condition.

Pat Barnes, 66, from Bermondsey, was one of the patients who met with Norman Lamb to talk about her treatment at Guy’s.

She said: “My arthritis was not identified as soon as it could have been, which meant that I was not referred for treatment at Guy’s straight away. Because of this I feel so strongly about letting other people know the importance of early diagnosis so they can get help before it is too late.

“Thankfully, I am now heading in the right direction and have a better understanding of my condition because of the treatment and staff at Guy’s.”

Norman Lamb’s visit was organised with the British Society for Rheumatology and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.

The British Society for Rheumatology’s annual best practice awards recognise service improvements, quality and efficiency, and high levels of patient care.

Last updated: November 2013

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