Assembly Member calls for investment in treatment for sufferers of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Swansea

The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has called on ABMU Health Board to invest in better care facilities for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis in Swansea, after meeting sufferers in the Welsh Assembly.

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Mr. Black met up with NRAS Ambassador Cynthia Rees and constituent Peter Jones (pictured) during a launch event for national Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week on Tuesday. He discussed with them their concerns about variations in the quality of services for rheumatoid arthritis patients across Wales and the problems they are experiencing in Singleton and Morriston Hospitals. 

Mr. Black was told that there are only two rheumatology nurse practitioners in each of Morriston and Singleton hospitals and only two rheumatology consultants. As a result the service is very stretched. There is a single treatment room in Singleton Hospital with just 2 staff and 4 chairs. This operates five days a week, 52 weeks a year but, if staff are on training, sick or leave then the session will be cancelled and everything falls behind.

If a patient misses an appointment for this or any other reason then will they suffer delays in getting a new slot. This can impact on their health, it can cause them to miss work and after the delayed treatment it takes time to get back to normality again. If the treatment is timely they do not have that problem. There is also a six month waiting list for infusions.

"Clearly there is a capacity problem in Swansea that is impacting on the timely treatment of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis," said Mr. Black. "There are not enough trained staff and facilities are inadequate. Accordingly, I have written to the health board to ask them to provide the much needed investment that will make this service fit for purpose."

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