FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick NDP is calling for Arthritis to be officially designated as a chronic disease. NDP Fredericton North candidate Brian Duplessis says this is long overdue given the sheer number of people affected by Arthritis in New Brunswick.
“There are more than 125,000 New Brunswickers who have been diagnosed with a form of Arthritis,” Duplessis said. “By giving it chronic disease designation, it will lead to better awareness and training for family physicians which will ultimately lead to earlier diagnosis and better treatment.”
Currently, New Brunswick only recognizes two chronic diseases – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes. Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland have already designated Arthritis as a chronic disease. Nova Scotia will officially designate Arthritis as a chronic disease in the coming weeks.
Duplessis believes this is not just a healthcare issue but is also an economic issue for New Brunswick. Arthritis costs the province almost $750 million each year. This includes $297 million in direct healthcare costs and another $445 million in lost labour productivity and disability costs.
“We need to take action now to do what we can help those with this disease and reduce costs to our healthcare system,” Duplessis said.