Arthritis sufferers in Burnley may be missing out on free aids for homes

Burnley MP Julie Cooper has urged local people living with arthritis to take advantage of aids and adaptations for their homes.

Thursday, 9th May 2019, 3:42 pm
Julie Cooper MP at the arthritis event in Parliament
Julie Cooper MP at the arthritis event in Parliament

The Labour MP heard representations from Versus Arthritis whose research has shown that 43% of people with arthritis said they struggled with tasks at home for more than two years before finding out about equipment they were eligible for.

Versus Arthritis asked MPs to come to the event to find out about its Room to Manoeuvre campaign to improve access to aids and adaptations in the home.

Local authorities have a legal duty to provide aids and minor adaptations free of charge to all those who are eligible. However, 33% of people who the charity surveyed said they do not use any aids or adaptations because they thought they would have to pay for them.

She said: “Some 4,281 people in Burnley are living with osteoarthritis of the hip, 7,216 with osteoarthritis of the knee and 15,353 with back pain. Many more are affected by other related conditions every day. I wanted to show support in Parliament for my constituents and help tackle the issues they face.

“It’s clear that aids and adaptations in the home can help people remain independent, and I want to make sure that people with arthritis in Burnley know about the support available and are able to easily access it. Today I am hearing from sufferers that it’s just not clear what to do when you need support so that nees to change.”

Julie Cooper, who is also the Shadow Health Minister for Communities, spoke to people with arthritis at the event about the impact of their condition and how aids and adaptations, such as grab rails, electric tin openers and stair lifts, have made a difference to their lives.

Aids and adaptations can help people with arthritis to remain independent in their homes, keep them out of hospital and reduce the need for more expensive care services. However, too many people face barriers to accessing this vital support or are paying for it themselves because they are not aware of the help available.

Versus Arthritis is calling on the Government and local authorities to ensure people with arthritis and related conditions are told about the aids and minor adaptations that can help them and, if they have eligible needs for care and support that they are provided with this equipment free of charge.