The paper will explain why people with arthritis are beginning to campaign in new ways and how this can benefit themselves as individuals, the community of people with arthritis and society as a whole.
It will explore the sometimes fractious, and still evolving, history of how people with arthritis have gradually moved away from seeing themselves in an entirely medical context; but also how the social model of disability has been both a liberation and a limitation. The energies of people with arthritis have been released by developing a vision where we are more than just patients or passive recipients of care. We now know that we can be actively involved in managing our condition and have a right to be actively involved in society. But where is that release of energy taking us?
Citing anti-discrimination legislation in both the UK and the USA, the paper will seek to summarise the public policy position for people with arthritis in 2001 but will also be forward looking. Does the advent of new technologies mean that science once more becomes the focus for people with arthritis? Or will the links with the civil rights movement of disabled people strengthen and grow so that medicine will be overshadowed by a political drive based entirely on social issues?
The speaker, Neil Betteridge, has personal experience of arthritis and is Head of Public Policy and Campaigning at Arthritis Care in the UK. Whilst working for the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR) he was involved in campaigning for, and helping to influence, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. He is currently actively involved in the European Manifesto for People with Arthritis and Rheumatism in Europe.
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