Theresa May MP
Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Maidenhead
The life and times of our second woman Prime Minister are documented at length elsewhere!
Theresa has been the MP for Maidenhead since 1997 and it was in her capacity as constituency MP that she first supported our founder and Chief Executive, Ailsa Bosworth, who could not, at that time, access the treatment she needed. After the launch of the charity, in 2001, Theresa enthusiastically engaged with NRAS by attending local events and regularly meeting with Ailsa to hear about the issues that matter to people with RA. It was shortly after we were founded that she became our patron.
In her time as Home Secretary from 2010-16, Theresa continued to be generous with her more limited time and has continued to host our biennial Healthcare Champions Awards in the Houses of Parliament and to attend an annual event in the local area. Shortly before becoming Prime Minister, Theresa kindly facilitated a meeting with the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Stephen Crabb MP at our request. The productive meeting provided us with an opportunity to update Theresa and Stephen on the work of NRAS and the challenges faced by people with RA in accessing the welfare system. Now, as Prime Minister, we look forward to a renewed relationship with her as our patron whilst recognising her increased time pressures.
As a charity, we are apolitical and it’s important to state that we are likely to disagree at times with decisions made by governments of which ever political hue, but this should not prevent us from being a critical friend in order to be able to engage effectively. With Theresa as Prime Minister, we will continue to review issues on a case-by-case, evidence-led basis and there will no doubt be times we disagree with decisions her government makes but this will not prevent us from exercising our views independently.
Whilst very grateful for the patronage of the Prime Minister, we continue to engage with politicians in all parties and in all areas of the UK.
Gabriel Panayi, ScD, MD, FRCP Consultant Rheumatologist
After six years as NRAS Chief Medical Advisor Professor Panayi has very kindly agreed to become an NRAS Patron.
He has worked tirelessly on our behalf throughout this period and has been a staunch supporter of the charity. We are delighted that he has agreed to take up this new role and look forward to working with him in the future.
A few words from Professor Panayi:
"I am honoured, proud and very happy to become a Patron of NRAS joining Theresa May MP who has given her time and energy so unstintingly to the Society. I have spent a professional lifetime as an academic rheumatologist. As arc Professor of Rheumatology I had three important functions: the provision of clinical rheumatology to patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis; the teaching of medical students, trainee rheumatologists and members of professions allied to rheumatology (nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists); and research into the mechanisms of inflammation that cause joint damage with the resultant problems of pain, disability, loss of work and social isolation of patients. All three of these activities are clearly intertwined for I have always felt that clinical practice focuses one's attention on the patients and their problems and is thus a powerful force directing the type of research to be done. Furthermore, the outcome of research, if not applied back in the form of new treatments in the clinic and if not transmitted to future practitioners of rheumatology, is sterile.
However, despite these endeavours I have always felt that there was a fourth ingredient missing from my professional endeavours. The missing ingredient was the political dimension of patient power. Political activities by doctors on behalf of their patients can always be misinterpreted as promotion of professional self-interest. No such jaundiced viewpoint can be expressed, at least openly, when patients are using political means to achieve more funding and thus better treatment, for in health care, just as in other spheres of life, competition for resources is a reality. However, although there were many organisations promoting the interests of patients with rheumatic diseases there was no organisation that specifically campaigned for those with rheumatoid arthritis. This was a curious and unexplained gap. I could not see how this gap could be filled until I met Ailsa Bosworth. We hit it off from the very beginning. As we know, she took on the Herculean task of organising NRAS. And as we know, she has made it into a successful, truly national charity that is recognised internationally. I have been very happy to support all the activities of NRAS but I have been particularly happy to answer the questions and the worries of patients directed at me via their emails as NRAS National Medical Adviser.
Now, in my new capacity as Patron, I will of course continue this support. Indeed, as Professor Emeritus of Rheumatology at King's College London, I have more time and will hopefully contribute even more."
Former NRAS Trustee and Fundraiser
Mark was born in 1954 and at 26 was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. He woke up one morning in agony, with no prior warning and has not looked back since! Mark has had multiple operations to his ankles, hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists and extensive surgery to both hands. He has also undergone discectomy/fusions and 2 spinal spacer back operations as well as having a heart attack requiring stent procedure and a haemorrhalgic stroke.
He was a board director of one of the UK's leading independent insurance brokers but took early retirement in 2005 due to ill health, as the illness has seriously affected his neck and he found his full time job too much to cope with. Mark was a trustee for NRAS for a number of years and we are delighted he has chosen to stay involved with the charity as a patron. He has worked hard to establish networks in the North East and Cumbria, where he is based, and has a particular interest in fundraising. He says he ‘was delighted to discover NRAS and is eager to help give something back'.