Joint statement on rise in COVID-19 cases in the UK

Together with our partner organisations of RAIRDA (The Rare Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases Alliance), we have released a joint statement in response to the recent rise in coronavirus cases. This is regarding the effect of the pandemic on the ongoing, continuing care of people with rare, autoimmune conditions, including scleroderma; as well as the issue of shielding.

Alongside our partner charities of the Rare Autoimmune Rheumatic Disease Alliance (RAIRDA), we have released a joint statement in response to the recent rise in coronavirus cases; regarding the effects on essential, continuing care and the issue of shielding.

When the pandemic hit earlier this year, the majority of people living with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases (RAIRDS), reported disruptions in both their care and their ability to manage their symptoms. This latest spike in cases is intensifying concerns surrounding the ongoing effect on continuing care, given that the consequences can be extremely severe and since many aspects are impossible to carry out remotely.

On a positive note, it is currently our understanding that this 'second wave' is not expected to cause anywhere near the level of disruption to essential, continuing care that we saw previously; with the message that no-one should avoid seeking medical help because of the pandemic. This will be dependent upon the appropriate infrastructure and support for both clinicians and patients, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

With regard to shielding, there is widespread recognition that this was an extremely difficult process for everyone involved. Whilst there are no plans to reintroduce these measures at the moment, for people living with RAIRDS, much uncertainty still remains. With cases on the rise, it is essential that essential support is available to those at risk, as well as to their employers, so that there is no confusion when it comes to staying safe.

Please click here to read the joint statement in full. If you have any concerns about the effects of this situation on your care or on how to stay safe, please get in touch.