Almost £800,000 in funding from the Arthritis Research Campaign is to pay for research into improving the care and treatment of osteoarthritis offered by GPs.
Almost 2,000 patients will be involved in the project led by a team of researchers at Keele University in Staffordshire and funded by a five-year grant of more than £788,000.
Osteoarthritis is a major source of pain and disability for millions of older people, yet the NHS does not consider the condition to be a health priority.
According to a recent poll, health services gave appropriate care to just 29% of patients with osteoarthritis, compared with 83% of people with heart disease.
Lead researcher Dr George Peat said: "Our recent research has shown that almost half of people registered with GPs in North Staffordshire who have severe joint pain don't go to their GP in the course of a year, possibly because they think their doctor will not be able to do anything about it.
"Patients will talk to their GP about their diabetes or their high blood pressure, but not their osteoarthritis or joint pain, and we want to find out what is stopping them from raising these problems with their doctor – or what is stopping the GP from asking about them."
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