28 February 2024

BSR, alongside patient organisations and medical specialities, has called on the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to urgently address workforce shortages and vacancies in rheumatology care in its spring budget.

The organisations argue that an under-resourced workforce impedes the ability of NHS services to meet escalating demand, fuelled by an aging population and increasing prevalence of rheumatic disease in children, young people, and adults.

The spring budget on the 6 March, could be the last budget before the UK General Election is called. BSR’s detailed submission argues that growing the rheumatology workforce would reduce the health and societal costs of newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis by £50 million over five years, mostly by allowing people to remain in work. For example, more rheumatology consultants would reduce the health and societal costs of incident rheumatoid arthritis by an estimated £69 million annually and realise a cost saving to the NHS of £5.8 million within one year, offsetting the cost of consultant’s salaries in that first year alone. While the modelling looks at savings achieved in incident rheumatoid arthritis, we would expect similar cost savings across other common rheumatic conditions at no additional cost.

Our budget submission can be read here.

You can take action by using our template and emailing your local politician about growing the rheumatology workforce.