New Zealand generally has a shortage of rheumatologists. “Until recently Manawatu has been one of the better served areas of the country but this does highlight how quickly a situation can change” said Sandra Kirby, Chief Executive, Arthritis New Zealand.

MidCentral DHB has employed two rheumatologists; both have been there for some time but this year one has retired and the second has resigned.

“We are delighted that MidCentral DHB has recruited new rheumatologists - but the gap between existing staff leaving and new rheumatologists arriving is of concern to people with arthritis in the region

Currently there is no information on the DHB website, nor are we aware of any communication with the rheumatology clinic users to alert people to the changes. This has created concern from members of the community who have arthritis.”

Because inflammatory arthritis is a chronic long term condition people with these conditions do need regular rheumatology visits - we would encourage Midcentral DHB to communicate their changes to people who use the services.

Arthritis New Zealand is aware of the shortage of rheumatologists nationwide and concerned for the impact this might have on patient care.  We are also aware that one of the ways this shortage is managed is by upskilling GPs in the management of arthritis related conditions.

Our Arthritis Educators may be able to add to your existing pain management tools - call 0800 663 463 and ask for an Educator.