MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard spoke about Arthritis in the Legislature

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Today, MLA Leonard spoke about Arthritis in the Legislature. You can find a link to the video here or read the transcript below:

Hon. Speaker, 1.2 million British Columbians have one of 100 types of arthritis. That’s costing $7 billion, with more than half that amount from lost work time. That doesn’t begin to capture the personal, human toll.

I was under 30 when I was told I needed a new hip because of advancing osteoarthritis, but I had to wait four years, with the prescription of taking enough aspirin until my ears rang, before I would become a bionic woman, because it wasn’t known then, yet, how long my artificial hip would last.

It was right to be conservative. As it is, I’ve had two hip revisions since, but thanks to researchers, my surgeon, Dr. Clive Duncan, a vast array of health professionals and the loving support of my family and friends through those years, I’m living the dream.

We’ve come a long way since those days. Research has been critical. Researchers like Doctors John Esdaile and Linda Li from Arthritis Research Canada and others are leading the way right here in British Columbia. Every year there are improved medicines to stem the advancement of joint degeneration and to control pain. Surgeries have advanced in ways that I never dreamed possible, and evolving activity protocols continue to improve lives.

Yet we still have a long way to go. We know the challenges of growing wait-lists, especially for hip and knee replacements. Arthritis is responsible for the vast majority of those joint replacements.

The Minister of Health has introduced a surgical strategy that will provide 34 percent more new hips and knees. That’s 4,000 more men and women being given a new lease on life every year. I look forward to the day when those numbers go down as we continue to find ways to manage arthritis, and finally, one day, to nip it in the bud before it consumes our lives and our health care budgets.