WHSCT to host Rheumatoid Arthritis information evening

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The Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) is inviting Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients and Ankylosing Spondylitis patients to come along to an information evening on Thursday April 2 at the C-TRIC Building, Altnagelvin Hospital from 6.45pm to 8pm.

The Rheumatology Department and Joint and Spine Research Team within the WHSCT will introduce and invite patients to join the new Rheumatoid Arthritis Research Advisory Group and/or Ankylosing Spondylitis Research Advisory Group. The advisory groups are being created to allow the research team to design better research projects for the future by gaining personal insight from patients about their conditions.

For those patients who do not feel ready to join these advisory groups, the WHSCT will also launch two new patient support groups with assistance from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) and the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS).

The main speaker at the information evening, Ian Bruce, Professor of Rheumatology and Senior Investigator at Arthritis Research UK will also introduce patients to an exciting UK-wide study involving close relatives of people with RA.

Encouraging all patients and their carers to attend the information evening Dr Philip Gardiner, WHSCT Consultant Rheumatologist said: “We really need to hear about patients own personal insight into their conditions, as this will help us to design better research projects in the future.

“The Research advisory groups are made up of research staff and people with an experience of the disease who want to be actively involved in the research process, although they do not need to take part in a clinical trial. The additional knowledge we gain from patient’s experiences can help challenge assumptions, identify problems and help come up with solutions.

“For those patients who do take part in the advisory groups, we hope they will gain new skills, knowledge, support and a sense of empowerment with their condition.”

Dr Gardiner continued: “Patients will also have the opportunity to meet with representatives from NRAS and NASS and join the first of their kind patient support groups in the North West. The support groups will provide information and support for people with these conditions their families, friends and carers.”

Places are limited, therefore it is essential that patients confirm their attendance by contacting: Dawn Small, Research Nurse on Tel: 028 7161 1294, leaving your name and contact number or via email: dawn.small@westerntrust.hscni.net