Promoting Arthritis Assist in Taranaki is the first step towards our mission to raise awareness about our services in regions with limited access to arthritis care and resources.

In May, Tory Garnham from the Arthritis Assist Team embarked on a mission to raise awareness about the Arthritis Assist service in Taranaki. The goal was to empower both individuals living with arthritis and health providers who provide support as best they can to their patients, by providing them with valuable resources and support to live well and thrive despite their condition.

Taranaki is home to approximately 18,000 people grappling with arthritis, and the existing healthcare system, including rheumatology, orthopedic services and GP practices is overwhelmed.

Over the past five years, patients in Taranaki have been experiencing prolonged waiting periods, with an average wait time of more than 20 weeks to see an orthopedic surgeon following a referral from their GP.  Moreover nearly half of the patients referred to the rheumatologist for diagnosis have not been seen within the required four-month timeframe outlined in Te Whatu Ora planned care.

Arthritis NZ aims to bridge the gap in care by providing a specialised service tailored to the needs of individuals with arthritis.  The Arthritis Assist programme offers a lifeline of information, guidance, and support for those navigating the challenges of arthritis. By connecting with the Arthritis Assist Team, individuals gain access to a wealth of resources and assistance to help them better manage their condition and improve their quality of life.

Arthritis NZ’s pilot programme in Taranaki represents a proactive effort to address the existing gaps in arthritis care services.  By raising awareness and extending the reach of Arthritis Assist, the organisation aims to ensure that individuals and at capacity health centres have the necessary resources and support to manage their arthritis effectively.

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