Arthritis charity concerned about slow diagnoses

Arthritis Care have raised concerns about the time it takes doctors to correctly diagnose some of their patients. They have said that it takes at least 3 visits to the doctor for over 25% of arthritis sufferers to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Furthermore, patients can wait up to 3 years for a correct diagnosis and referral for treatment.

Now doctors are only human and when people visit them with certain symptoms there are a whole range of possibilities that the GP must consider before making a diagnosis. It is true that the practice nurse can deal with many of these conditions but it is the doctor who is in the best position to decide what is best for the patient.

There is, however, some concern that GP’s are not taking enough time to come to a correct diagnosis. We all know how busy surgeries are and that GP’s are under a lot of pressure time wise, but waiting 3 years for a correct diagnosis is really unacceptable.

Yes, a lot of conditions come on gradually and so are difficult to spot in the first instance. Arthritis is one of these. But on the other hand it has been reported that it takes the GP’s holiday locum to diagnose some conditions. Cushing’s Disease of the adrenal glands is one such condition frequently diagnosed thus.

Patients also frequently believe that nothing can be done for arthritis according to Arthritis Care. But there are a lot of self-help therapies such as weight loss, exercise and diet change. Acupuncture can help as well and sometimes is available on the NHS. So, away from blaming the GP it is also up to the individuals to take some responsibility for their own health and do something to help themselves once they have a correct diagnosis