Arthritis an increasing challenge - Poots
More than 600 children and young people are fighting arthritis in Northern Ireland and require a range of treatments, Health Minister Edwin Poots told a gathering of health professionals.
Speaking as the guest of honour at the Irish Society for Rheumatology 40th anniversary dinner in Belfast, the Minister said: “The treatment of rheumatologic conditions pose an ever increasing challenge to the Health Service with an ageing population, although the condition can affect people of any age. Indeed, it is significant to note that there are over 600 children and young people suffering from arthritis in Northern Ireland alone.
“Treatment of chronic conditions such as arthritis is a multi-faceted process which involves the services of a range of professionals including GPs, nurses, pharmacists, physio and occupational therapists. Drug treatments can play an important part in that treatment and care.
“Anti-TNF treatments are, however, very expensive to deliver, not only because of the cost of the drugs themselves but also because of the need to properly supervise their administration and to do so in an environment where the risk of infection is minimised. This is one of the reasons why I announced in October last year an additional £5million to purchase additional crucial drugs and treatments to improve patient care - including anti-TNF treatments for people with rheumatoid and other types of severe inflammatory arthritis.”
The Society, which is made up of over 200 rheumatologists and health professionals from all over Ireland, is committed to improving medical education in the field of rheumatology as well as supporting research.
During his key note speech, Mr Poots added: “As Minister for Health, I am well aware of the great work which has been done by the society over the past 40 years in improving medical education and furthering research in this important field. There can be no greater testimony to the eminence of the Society and the force it is throughout the island of Ireland than the many esteemed Rheumatologists that we have gathered here this evening.
“Rheumatologic conditions are likely to present the health service with a tremendous challenge for the foreseeable future, and it is for that reason that the work of the Society in the furthering of research and training will continue to play a significant role in helping my Department to meet that challenge.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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