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Ireland bottom three in consultant numbers
[Posted: Thu 01/10/2009 by Joanne McCarthy www.irishhealth.com]
Ireland ranks in the bottom three in Europe in its number of consultant rheumatologists per head of population, according to a new report.
The report, entitled Fit to Work, investigated the impact of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) on the work force and economy. MSDs account for half of all absences from work in Ireland, at a cost of €750 million to the economy.
MSDs is an umbrella term covering 200 conditions that affect the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, peripheral nerves and supporting blood vessels, causing pain and functional impairment to sufferers. One of the most common types is arthritis.
The report highlighted that Ireland spends more per capita (40.9%) on sickness and health care benefits than all other 24 countries featured in the report.
According to Arthritis Ireland, this benefit expenditure is likely to increase without better access to consultants. Risk factors for MSDs include the intensification of work, an ageing population and rising rates of obesity.
The study, which was conducted across 25 countries in Europe, found that 100 million Europeans suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain, and up to 40% have to give up work due to their condition.
The report recommends a new and more inclusive method to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of treating illness in general, and MSDs in particular.
Early detection of and intervention in MSDs ultimately reduces the burden on governments’ health and disability budgets, and improves the lives of Europeans, according to Arthritis Ireland.
“The fact that Ireland ranks among the bottom three in terms of the number of consultant rheumatologist posts across Europe is of serious concern. Anecdotally, we are aware that patients can wait as long as four years for a consultant appointment and therefore access to treatment,” said Prof Oliver Fitzgerald, consultant rheumatologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin.
“For more serious MSDs, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is imperative that patients receive treatment as soon as possible to help to halt the disease progression. Access to consultant rheumatologists is essential in achieving this and helping people stay Fit for Work,” he continued.
For more information and to view the full report, visit www.fitforworkeurope.eu.
For more on arthritis, see our rheumatoid arthritis clinic at http://www.irishhealth.com/clin/ra/index.html.
|Anonymous Posted: 05/10/2009 09:33|
And despite the fact that we have fewer consultants for this Iirish people seem far more prone to it than our Southern European counterparts
|CATHY Posted: 07/10/2009 22:42|
And we wonder why we have such a lonnnnnnng waiting lists!
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