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Who can help me?

We are all unique, as are our experiences of osteoarthritis and the journey we undertake.

Likewise your journey will vary depending on whether you go private (either through a healthcare provider or by buying treatment directly from a provider i.e. bracing) or via the NHS.

What we wanted to do in this section was to highlight the various touchpoints available in your journey, who they are and what their role is in helping you to regain your mobility following diagnosis.

Some sufferers may have spoken to all of the following parties whereas others may not. What is important is to know who you can turn to and where you are able to seek out advice, either from medical professionals, government bodies or charitable causes.

NHS

The NHS was established in 1948 and provides free healthcare to residents in England at the point of use.Responsibility for healthcare in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government respectively and operates in a similar manner. You will be able to access NHS treatment for your OA Knee pain via your GP, essentially, the ‘gatekeeper’ to secondary care treatment.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff and is the most common type of arthritis in the UK. OA of the knee is a common complaint and is a long-term condition and can't be cured, but it doesn't necessarily get any worse over time and it can sometimes gradually improve. There are a range of treatments for OA of the knee, including medication, physiotherapy, knee bracing and surgery. The NHS advises that you should see your GP if you have persistent symptoms of osteoarthritis so they can confirm the diagnosis and prescribe any necessary treatment.

For further information visit www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Osteoarthritis/Pages/Introdu...

GP's

When you start experiencing OA knee pain, your first step should be to visit your local GP who will be able to start your referral process. GPs are the entry point for primary care in the UK and will be the first step of your journey towards pain free living.

You can find your local GP here.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Clinics

There are a large number musculoskeletal services across the UK that could help support you with your condition and are becoming more widely available as more people suffer with arthritis and joint pain, and also due to an ageing population. You may well be referred to a MSK clinic or unit by your GP.

MSK disorders are a range of around 200 conditions that can affect muscles, joints and bones with the clinics providing an opportunity for you to meet with professionals who can help treat your condition, and will be experts in treating musculoskeletal conditions. Experts at MSK clinics include rheumatologists and physiotherapists, who will carry out an initial assessment to find out more about your condition and to identify further steps, which could include referral for physiotherapy or medication.

Finding your local MSK clinic is not particularly easy as there is no definitive list however a quick Google search for MSK Clinic in 'Town Name' will give you an idea of where to look.

Specialist Surgeons / Consultant

There are surgeons / consultants across the UK that specialise in treating OA knee pain via surgical procedures. Trauma and orthopaedic surgeons treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system and you would need to be referred to a specialist surgeon either via the NHS or through your private healthcare company. Your surgeon or consultant would be able to treat your condition with surgery. Some people may chose not to go down this route in order to avoid surgical intervention.

The role of a Trauma and Orthopaedic (T&O) surgeon or orthopaedic specialist is to identify and treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system. You would be seen by a T&O surgeon / consultant to treat your knee pain via surgical intervention. If you choose to treat your condition via a surgical menthod, you would meet your surgeon / consultant for an initial assessment to discuss surgical intervention.

Private Healthcare

Private health treatment is available at a cost in the UK for a wide range of medical conditions. Before being treated via private healthcare, you will need to sign up via a specialist private healthcare provider, you will also need to have a referral from your GP. A referral will enable access to treatment in a private hospitals or by specialists. Some people chose to access private healthcare as there is generally less waiting time compared to NHS services. There are a wide range of private healthcare providers, we have listed those that are nationally available below. Costs differ between service providers, so you would need to contact these providers to find out more.

Please find below a list of private healthcare providers:


APRIL UK

0800 028 0849

www.april-uk.com

AXA PPP Healthcare

0800 783 1279

www.axappphealthcare.co.uk

BCWA Healthcare

0800 294 6796

www.simplyhealth.co.uk

BUPA

0800 600 500

www.bupa.co.uk/members

CIGNA

01475 492 222

www.cigna.co.uk

Exeter Family Friendly

0300 123 3250

www.exeterfamily.co.uk

General & Medical

0800 970 9442

www.generalandmedical.com

GROUPAMA

0333 633 9002

www.groupamahealthcare.co.uk

HEALIX

0844 209 0136

www.healix.com

HSA

0800 085 0203

www.simplyhealth.co.uk

Medisure

0870 908 3393

www.medisure.co.uk

Aviva (formerly Norwich Union)

0800 056 7654

www.aviva.co.uk/health

PruHealth

0800 012 1328

www.pruhealth.co.uk

Remedi

0800 294 6796

www.simplyhealth.co.uk

Standard Life Healthcare

0800 333 350

www.welcometopruhealth.co.uk

WPA

0800 298 9588

www.wpa.org.uk

Saga

0800 015 0226

www.saga.co.uk/health-insurance

Registered charities and specialist organisations

There are a range of organisations offering easy access to information about your condition. Such as:

Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis Research UK invests in breakthrough treatments, provides information and vital support for everyone affected by arthritis. Their work has already uncovered breakthrough treatments, and they are dedicated to uncovering new ideas to help people push back the ways arthritis limits their lives.

For further information visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Arthritis Care

Arthritis Care is a UK registered charity that offers a range of support and services to help people manage arthritis and connect with other people who share a similar experience. The charity can offer support in person, online or on the phone and can connect those with arthritis with other people with sufferers. The charity has volunteers who deliver face to face services, moderate their online community and run branches and groups.

For further information visit www.arthritiscare.org.uk

The Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI)

The Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) is the leading medical society for advancing the understanding, early detection, treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis (OA) through its exclusive dedication to research. OARSI’s passion and area of focus is on OA, a debilitating disease affecting more than 600 million people around the world. With more than 30 years of experience serving the OA community, OARSI provides the necessary framework, expert resources and support for its international constituents to address the challenges of OA so that the knowledge gained can ultimately be used to help improve patient care and patient outcomes.

For further information please visit www.oarsi.org

NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health in the United Kingdom. It serves both the English NHS and the Welsh NHS. In a recent NICE guideline, NICE recommended the use of knee bracing for the treatment of OA Kneepain. Bracing can provide an excellent means of non-surgical intervention and has much clinical evidence to support its usage.

For further information visit www.nice.org.uk

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