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People with chronic MSDs compromising their health to keep their jobs, new report reveals

Friday, September 5th, 2014

The government, the NHS, and employers are failing to provide the necessary support for people with chronic MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders)* to stay in work. This is according to a new report released today (Friday 5th September) by Lancaster University’s Work Foundation and the Fit for Work UK Coalition. The findings also indicate that some patients are putting their health at risk to hold on to their jobs.

Update: Commenting on the report, Sue Browning, deputy chief executive of the CSP, said: “Physiotherapists are experts at keeping people healthy in work, or facilitating a return after sickness absence, and it is very important that employers provide staff with fast access to occupational health services (…) The NHS should also make self-referral to physiotherapy available across the country”. Read the full statement of Sue Browning on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy website.

Professor Stephen Bevan, director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation and founding president of Fit for Work UK, said: “Workers with MSDs often find themselves fighting a lonely battle to remain in work. The government, employers and clinicians should make it a priority to support them to remain in employment after diagnosis”.

Currently, Britain is losing 30.5 million working days a year to MSDs, which are the leading cause of sickness absence, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)**. Today’s paper shows that employers, in particular small organisations, have little knowledge about government schemes such as “Access to Work” and are insufficiently prepared to manage chronic conditions in the workplace. Many workers admit to being reluctant to ask for help from their line managers for fear of stigma, negative judgement and job loss. Others said they had to involve their union to get the necessary support or move into self-employment.

The interviews conducted for the report released today highlight that, unless action is taken, individuals’ health conditions and quality of life will continue to be damaged by work, with some leaving the labour market prematurely. The consequence of the status quo is an increase in productivity loss, sickness absence and, ultimately, the welfare bill.

One employee interviewed in the report said: “Last year, the team were very understaffed some individuals went off sick. I think the pressure to try and do other people’s jobs as well as your own just got too much for me. It was a very stressful time to me and that made my illness a lot worse”. Another explained: “It’s a bit rule by fear in this department these days. They’ll try and get rid of you if you’ve been off too long with your health”.

Kate Summers, research officer at The Work Foundation, commented: “Individuals with chronic MSDs will go to great lengths to remain in work. They will give up aspects of their family and social life, and they will even take roles below their skill set. This is because work can bring many benefits – be they financial, psychological or social. These benefits are undermined if individuals are working in a environment that is not good for their health”.

The report makes four recommendations: 1. The government should increase participation to initiatives like “Access to Work” and should provide extra assistance for employees working in small and medium enterprises; 2. The government should also ensure that work is viewed as a “clinical outcome” by clinicians and invest in more “specialist nurse” roles; 3. Employers should consider all necessary workplace adjustments and offer career development opportunities for people with chronic MSDs; 4. Clinicians should view it as part of their role to ask patients about their work lives.

The authors of the paper also added that they welcome the government’s new Health and Work Service in England and Wales, but that it needs to focus on sustained return to work outcomes.

The report is being previewed on Friday at the conference “Self care & resilience: How we can care?” organised by the College of Medicine at the King’s College, in London

– ENDS –

Notes to the Editors:

1. Kate Summers, research officer, is available for interviews, briefings and written comment. 3. The paper is part of a national campaign led by Fit for Work UK, informing the public debate on dealing with the growing burden of MSDs and calling for coordinated action across all main political parties in the UK. 4. *Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) cover around 200 disorders that affect the joints, bones, muscles and connective tissues. MSDs include back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, injuries caused by trauma, such as fractures, and other conditions that are the result of genetic or developmental abnormalities, as well as bone and soft tissue cancer. 5. ** The “Sickness Absence in the Labour Market” report. 6. The Fit for Work UK Coalition is an active partnership of healthcare professionals, policymakers, employers and advocacy groups founded in 2007. It supports people with long-term conditions, particularly musculoskeletal conditions. Their members are: AbbVie, the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA), BT Group, Capita, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS), National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), The Work Foundation, and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). 7. Lancaster University’s Work Foundation transforms people’s experience of work and the labour market through high quality applied research that empowers individuals and influences public policies and organisational practices. The Work Foundation is part of Lancaster University – an alliance that enables both organisations to further enhance their impact.

Media enquiries:

Ioana Piscociu, ipiscociu@theworkfoundation.com, 020 7976 3526, for urgent out-of-hours enquiries: 0755 178 14 06.

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EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Response from The Work Foundation and the Fit for Work Europe Coalition

The Work Foundation, part of Lancaster University, is an applied research and policy think tank which specialises on the health of the working age population. The Fit for Work Europe Coalition has, since 2009, been conducting research on the impact of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the health and productivity of workers across all EU Member States.

In response to the Strategic Framework, Prof Stephen Bevan, Director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation and Founding President of Fit for Work Europe, said:

1. We welcome the strategic framework as it recognises that workplace health and safety are critical areas to sustained economic recovery, especially as the workforce ages and as increasing labour productivity becomes a strategic priority.

2. We are concerned that the strategic framework places little emphasis on a number of workforce health issues which have a significant impact both on workers and on the businesses where they work. For example, it is clear from our own research that EU workforce health and safety cannot merely focus on the workplace causes of ill-health among workers. Pre-existing conditions which are exacerbated by work, or co-morbid health conditions where non-work factors are important and lead to workplace consequences (i.e. lost productivity, presenteeism) must also be given priority, as should the wider psychological climate of workplaces.

3. We are increasingly convinced that joined-up efforts to promote workforce health are required. We feel that the strategic framework should reflect the need for cross-silo investment in workforce health across government at national level and at EC level. We are concerned that, with austerity policies, there has been a more narrow focus on initiatives which are low cost, low risk and which do not prioritise early intervention or prevention. In addition, EU-OSH should be focusing more on coordinating efforts in national health systems to prioritise work as a clinical outcome of treatment among people of working age. Unless the expertise of OH professionals is included more prominently in the way workers with health condition receive access to health treatments which support job retention and return to work, our experience tells us that ‘work ability’ will not be given sufficient priority.

4. The strategic framework should also focus on providing more practical support for employers to make workplace adaptations & to focus on job retention among employees with long-term or chronic conditions. Dissemination of national examples of early interventions which deliver good workplace, clinical and economic results Highlighting case studies of cross-agency working at national level where employers, health systems and welfare interventions combine to promote job retention and return to work for more workers whose jobs are at risk. We would like to see existing legislation on workplace accommodations for people with MSDS, for example, focus on early intervention, and recognise the effect on work ability of pre-existing and comorbid conditions which are not caused directly by work, Specific support for small and medium-sized enterprises should also be targeted.

5. We were very disappointed that the proposed MSD Directive was abandoned after several years of development work. MSDs are the leading cause of sickness absence in Europe, accounting for half of all absences and 60% of permanent work incapacity. In addition, MSDs cost up to 2% of EU GDP, i.e. around €240bn in costs to the continent each year. Our experience is that, in matters of workforce health and safety – requiring a strategic approach – social dialogue can undermine bold, visionary and forward-looking initiatives as a result of narrow, sectional positions being taken. While seeking consensus is to be encouraged, we are concerned that measures to mitigate the negative impact of foreseeable long-term, demographic and epidemiologically important health changes in the working age population in the EU will be undermined by the occasional short-term and self-interested nature of some aspects of the social dialogue process. We would like to see the strategic framework reflect this need more explicitly.

– Ends –

Notes to editors

1. Prof Stephen Bevan, Director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation and Founding President of Fit for Work Europe, is available for interviews, briefings and written comment.

2. The Work Foundation transforms people’s experience of work and the labour market through high quality applied research that empowers individuals and influences public policies and organisational practices.

3. Fit for Work Europe is a multi-stakeholder Coalition, driving policy and practice change across the work and health agendas in then UK and Europe. We aim to deliver more investment in sustainable healthcare by promoting and implementing early intervention practices. Research shows this approach is the most effective way of ensuring people with MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders) can enter and remain in work across the EU and globally. Fit for Work Europe is a project led by The Work Foundation, supported by AbbVie and GE Healthcare.

4. Fit for Work Europe submitted a response to the EU-OSHA consultation on the new EU Occupational Safety and Health Policy Framework (2014-2020), which can be read here.

 

Media enquiries:

Ioana Piscociu, 020 7976 3526, ipiscociu@theworkfoundation.com

For urgent out-of-hours enquiries: 0755 178 14 06

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Posted in Europe, Health Policy, Labour policy, Press Releases | Comments Off on EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020
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Early Intervention is a cost-effective solution to reduce the burden of MSDs

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

What costs EU countries upwards of €240bn annually? Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) affect 100 million Europeans and member states could see up to 50 per cent of their working-age populations diagnosed with a chronic MSD by 2030. The 2010 Report on The Global Burden of Disease published by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation states that “MSDs are the primary cause of disability in Europe.” MSDs are not just a health issue, they are a social and economic one, too — one that we simply cannot afford to ignore.

There is hope, however. We founded MSD Early Intervention trial clinics in Madrid… click to read Dr Jover’s piece on Early Intervention in the Parliament Magazine, issue 387 | 31 March 2014.

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Musculoskeletal Disorders threaten productivity of Asia-Pacific economies, say experts

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Experts from across the Asia-Pacific Region in Tokyo today have warned that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) represent a major threat to productivity and economic growth. In a series of reports experts drawn from medicine, labour economics and occupational health found that MSDs are the primary cause of sickness absence and disability amongst Asia-Pacific workforces and that, as these workforces age, the problem is likely to become more acute. At the first meeting of the Fit for Work Coalition in the Region, these experts have joined forces to propose a series of solutions to this threat which they hope will unite governments, doctors and employers to improve workforce health and improve labour productivity.

Fit for Work Asia Pacific is launched

Fit for Work Asia Pacific is launched

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are the primary cause of sickness absence and disability amongst Asia-Pacific workforces, curtailing labour productivity and draining millions of US dollars from the economy every year. This is according to a series of reports published by a group of experts, who have now joined forces under the Fit for Work Coalition and launched an Asia-Pacific initiative to propose solutions to the governments.  

A major study – Fit for Work – conducted by The Work Foundation in 42 countries throughout Europe, the Americas and, recently, the Asia-Pacific informs that MSDs are causing pain and functional impairment to people living with them, as well as putting a great strain on the health and labour systems, with downstream consequences for the economy.

Fit for Work reveals that MSDs account for 53% of all disorders which keep workers off sick in South Korea. They also affect one in four adults in New Zealand, which makes them the primary cause of disability and permanent job loss in the country. Nearly 31% of Australians are living with an MSD, whilst among the 90 million Japanese aged over 30, 21.4 million (24.3 per cent), 3.2 million (3.7 per cent), and 9.1 million (10.4 per cent) were estimated to have low back, hip, and knee pains, respectively. The findings of Fit for Work are in line with a recent report by the World Bank and the Global Burden of Disease, which classifies MSDs as the second cause of disability in the world after mental and behavioural disorders.

Prof Shinya Matsuda - Chair of the Fit for Work Asia-Pacific Coalition

Prof Shinya Matsuda – Chair of the Fit for Work Asia-Pacific Coalition

MSDs are also a great financial burden for the society. “In Japan, we are losing JPY2 trillion each year in direct health care costs attributed to MSDs.” says Professor Shinya Matsuda, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan. “This is a preventable cost. MSDs are manageable conditions, provided workers are enrolled in an early intervention programme, which facilitates early diagnosis and treatment, job retention and return to work. The government should tighten the collaboration between the ministries of health, labour, welfare and finance to implement a national framework for workers living with MSDs.

Professor Matsuda is chairing a group of health professionals, labour market analysts, economists and representatives of patient associations, who have now formed the Fit for Work Asia-Pacific Coalition. The Coalition has been officially launched at a roundtable organised in Tokyo, on the 6th and 7th of April, and is currently bringing together experts from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. With support from their European colleagues, the Asian-Pacific members hope to persuade their governments to adopt national plans which prioritise early intervention programmes to MSDs.

Antonella Cardone Executive Director Fit for Work

Antonella Cardone, Executive Director Fit for Work

The new care model – Early Intervention – is currently tested in several European countries and has been successfully implemented in over 25 regions in Spain. Following a two-year pilot in Spain, the sickness absence and job loss associated to MSDs were reduced respectively by 39% and 50%. The cost-benefit analysis also shows that almost £10 were recouped for every £1 invested in the programme.

Prof Stephen Bevan - Founding President Fit for Work

Prof Stephen Bevan – Founding President Fit for Work

Prof Stephen Bevan, Founding President of the Fit for Work Europe and Director of The Work Foundation, explains “Early Intervention can be a winning solution for all stakeholders – individuals with MSDs, health care professionals, employers, policy-makers and governments. The approach reduces the time of diagnosis, treatment and recovery improving patient outcomes and labour market participation, as well as driving savings to the health care and welfare systems.” 

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

–   Prof. Shinya Matsuda, Chair of the Fit for Work Asia-Pacific and Prof. Stephen Bevan, Founding President of Fit for Work Europe and a director at The Work Foundation, are available for interviews, comments and briefings ;

–   Covering 200 conditions, MSDs include widely known conditions such as back pain and arthritis, injuries caused by trauma, such as fractures, and other conditions that are the result of genetic or developmental abnormalities, as well as bone and soft tissue cancer;

–   Fit for Work is a multi-stakeholder Coalition initiated in Europe, driving policy and practice change across the work and health agendas. We aim to deliver more investment in sustainable healthcare by promoting and implementing early intervention practices. Research shows this approach is the most effective way of ensuring people with MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders) can enter and remain in work across worldwide. Fit for Work is a project led by The Work Foundation, supported by AbbVie and GE Healthcare;

–   A summary of the Early Intervention http://bit.ly/EarlyIn

–   The Fit for Work report in Japan http://bit.ly/1shpffd

–   The Fit for Work report in Australia http://bit.ly/1lv1RH8

–   The Fit for Work report in New Zealand http://bit.ly/1mPWMfx

 

For media enquiries please contact:

Ioana Piscociu, project manager Fit for Work, email: ipiscociu@theworkfoundation.com, phone: +44 20 79 76 35 26

 

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Shrinking household incomes a risk for millions of European workers with musculoskeletal disorders due to a lack of early diagnosis and support

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Millions of Europeans are at risk of seeing their family incomes shrink and face premature retirement due to a lack of support for workers with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and inadequate diagnosis of the condition. Research for Fit for Work from The Work Foundation published today (7 March) reveals that two thirds of people living with musculoskeletal disorders are primary earners in their families, yet many cannot return to work because of a lack of workplace adjustments offered by employers. On top of this, they receive little support from clinicians and healthcare systems.

Musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of temporary incapacity in Europe accounting for 50% of all absences of more than three days. Often the condition is not diagnosed early enough (in 40% of cases), leaving many people unable to return to work. The longer an individual is off work the less likely it is they will return, at a cost of billions of euros to the European economy. The report authors call on healthcare professionals, employers and policymakers to ensure that employment outcomes for individuals with MSDs are included as a top priority in treatment and support plans.

Launched as part of the Fit for Work Europe research programme, the Fit for Work Patient Survey shows the impact of MSDs draws on people in Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK. The findings reveal that:

• Almost 40% of respondents said the condition has had an impact on their earnings;
• At least 57% of those not in work said their entire households relied on social support as the main source of income;
• 54.9% of people with severe MSDs said their condition prevented them from working or accessing education;
• 92.4% said that they sometimes go to work despite feeling unwell due to their condition;
• An individual who has been off work for six months or longer is 80% more likely to be out-of-work for five years;
• Over 65% said the condition had an impact on their decision to retire early.

Professor Stephen Bevan, Fit for Work Europe founding president and a director at The Work Foundation said, “The support available to individuals with musculoskeletal disorders is often insufficient to keep them in work, and some healthcare practitioners lack the appropriate experience and training to diagnose conditions early enough.

“The majority of those working with a musculoskeletal disorder surveyed cite managing symptoms and maintaining work performance levels as their top concerns in the workplace. It is clear we need healthcare professionals, employers and policymakers collaborating to better support people with musculoskeletal disorders who are willing and able to work.”

Fit for Work Europe is calling for joint engagement at the national and EU level between social welfare, healthcare and national agencies and departments. The report makes a series of recommendations for policymakers, employers, healthcare professionals and people working with musculoskeletal disorders:

• Policymakers across Europe must tackle the impact of chronic health conditions with the same rigour as diseases characterised by high mortality;
• A comprehensive national action plan must be put in place to counteract the disabling effect of MSDs;
• Employers should improve policies around staff retention and return to work, training managers to identify early symptoms of MSDs and refer individuals to appropriate specialists;
• Healthcare professionals should offer more targeted support to improve work outcomes during and after treatment, so individuals can better manage their condition;
• Individuals and employers should work together to discuss how working conditions can be adapted to better support employees to be productive and create an environment in which employee knowledge and experience are taken into consideration.

Antoniya Parvanova, MEP and Fit for Work Europe co-founding president said, “It is clear that the lack of prevention, early intervention and appropriate management of MSDs in clinical and workplace settings undermine the work productivity of millions of Europeans who want to work. Moreover, suboptimal standards of care for MSDs increase the risk of worsening the health of these individuals and has a large impact on households and society.

“Swift action is required to develop and implement policy decisions at the national level that take into consideration the benefits to society of greater prevention and early interventions across health care and welfare systems. This report confirms that investment in health can offset the burden of unnecessarily early retirement and disability in the long term.”

Coordinated action between employers and healthcare professionals, along with early diagnosis, can help individuals to better manage their conditions with the use of appropriate treatment and medication, exercise programmes, education about condition management, work counselling and work adjustments, cognitive behavioural therapy and workplace visits from clinicians.

Ends

For more information please contact:
Anna Kharbanda, media officer at The Work Foundation akharbanda@theworkfoundation.com 020 7976 3646

For urgent out-of-hours media enquiries: Nasreen Memon 07825 527 036

Notes to Editors:

1. Ksenia Zheltoukhova is available for interviews, comments and briefings.  A copy of the Fit for Work Patient Survey is available from www.fitforworkeurope.eu or from the press office in advance of publication.
2. In the survey, 48.4% of respondents not in employment or education indicated that they had been primary earners of their households before leaving a paid job. The majority of those with MSDs in our survey and in paid work are the primary carers.  47% per cent of those surveyed were in managerial jobs. Within three years of diagnosis, 50% of people with rheumatoid arthritis are registered as work disabled. The majority of those surveyed have a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, spondyloarthropathy or two or more MSDs. The sample is not necessarily representative of the wider population of people with MSDs.
3. The Fit for Work EU initiative is a multi-country research and multi-stakeholder platform aiming to reduce and prevent the burden of musculoskeletal conditions (MSDs) in Europe by developing and implementing practical solutions that support people with MSDs in maintaining work or returning to work, and by seeking to drive policy and clinical practice change at country level through national industry, academic, government, and medical collaboration. The Fit for Work project team runs several work streams, including improving earlier, appropriate management of MSDs, ensuring adequate investment in the management of MSDs, establishing workability as a clinical outcome and establishing workability and work productivity as part of healthcare decision making.

For further information about the work of Fit for Work Europe in 2013 please visit www.fitforworkeurope.eu
4. Tables and key findings from the Fit for Work Patient Survey

 

Work
considered as an outcome of clinical treatment (p30)

Country No Yes
UK 35.0% 65.0%
Spain 77.5% 22.5%
Portugal 45.0% 55.0%
Ireland 55.9% 44.1%
Bulgaria 60.0% 20.0%
Belgium 54.5% 45.5%

 

 

Table 1. Workplace support
provided by the employer

Country of residence

Type of support provided by employer

Health Insurance

OH specialists

Flexible working arrangements

Ergonomic assessments

EAP

Attendance policies

Belgium

50.5%

36.1%

15.5%

9.3%

3.1%

32.0%

Bulgaria

93.7%

25.4%

15.9%

9.5%

1.6%

15.9%

Ireland

30.4%

26.7%

20.0%

27.4%

28.9%

52.6%

Portugal

33.3%

4.0%

8.0%

8.0%

0%

36.0%

Spain

18.9%

4.4%

17.8%

12.2%

5.6%

42.2%

UK

12.4%

43.0%

36.1%

41.8%

25.8%

52.6%

 

 

Table 17. Workplace
support received to help manage the condition

Workplace support received

Percentage of respondents

Country of residence

Belgium

Bulgaria

Ireland

Portugal

Spain

UK

Change
of duties

32.4

30.4

21.7

12.5

13.6

24.5

Change
to the number of hours worked

41.2

30.4

19.6

12.5

27.3

25.5

Change
to the pattern of hours worked

44.1

26.1

21.7

18.8

22.7

30.4

Increase
in use of home working

17.6

26.1

10.9

0.0

18.2

25.5

Option
to take emergency leave as needed

8.8

73.9

19.6

13.8

36.4

20.6

Provision
of equipment or workstation adaptations

2.9

13.0

6.5

25.0

9.1

7.8

Other
changes

5.9

13.0

6.5

25.0

9.1

7.8

No
changes

11.8

0.0

10.9

0.0

9.1

8.3

 

Table
25. Age of retirement from work

Country of residence

Percentage of respondents

What age did you retire from work

Under 40 years old

40-49

50-59

60-65

Over 65 years old

Belgium

0.0

100.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Bulgaria

66.7

16.7

16.7

0.0

0.0

Ireland

7.4

11.1

37.0

37.0

7.4

Portugal

0.0

25.0

58.3

16.7

0.0

Spain

23.5

17.6

47.1

11.8

0.0

UK

3.5

12.4

54.9

23.9

5.3

Total

8.0

14.2

50.0

23.3

4.5

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Fit for Work UK proposes new measure to help health services support rheumatoid arthritis patients into work

Monday, February 18th, 2013

18 February 2012: Fit for Work UK (FfW UK) has today submitted its response to NICE’s consultation on the draft Quality Standard  for rheumatoid arthritis, the set of criteria designed to drive and measure priority quality improvements for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

FfW UK welcomes many aspects of the Quality Standard, including its commitment to annual reviews of patient condition and the provision of self-management and educational support for patients.  However, FfW UK raises concerns that despite the Government’s commitment to optimise employment outcomes of individuals with long-term conditions and the inclusion of ‘employment of people with long-term conditions’ as an indicator in the NHS Outcomes Framework, these regulations have not yet translated into clinicians’ day-to-day practice.

This is worrying as FfW UK’s study of 809 people diagnosed with a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), published in December 2012, shows that maintaining work is a significant problem for people with MSDs.  Three quarters of respondents to the survey who were retired said their condition had influenced their decision to leave the labour market, with the majority retiring before reaching the age of fifty-five. Within three years of diagnosis, half of people with rheumatoid arthritis are registered as work disabled.  Inability to stay in work may have a further spillover effect into the wellbeing and financial stability of entire households. In the FfW UK study, 57.4 % of respondents who were not in work had been primary income earners before leaving their job.

FfW UK therefore proposes that NICE should enhance the service standards for diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis by including in the Standard a measure of employment outcomes of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, expressed as change in the proportion of people with rheumatoid arthritis in paid and unpaid work year on year. A local Clinical Commissioning Group measuring workability in a pilot study has highlighted the benefits of managing work outcomes in the primary care settings.

Professor Stevan Bevan, Chair of Fit For Work UK, commented:

“Employment is valued by many individuals living with rheumatoid arthritis, and those who  are willing to continue working must be supported in their ambition. Too often such supports arrives unnecessarily late, when progress of disease may be hindering work ability and limiting job choices. Clinicians in primary and secondary care should be encouraged to monitor and manage work outcomes of patients with rheumatoid arthritis so as to maximise  employment opportunities and improve quality of life for these individuals.”

Notes
Fit For Work UK is a campaigning coalition established in 2011 with the aim of promoting the awareness and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) so that they are treated and understood as manageable conditions – not disabling conditions.  The Coalition brings together healthcare professionals, policy makers, employers, and patient representatives.

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Call on policymakers to recognise socio-economic impact of RMDs

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Today in Budapest, people living with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) joined leaders in rheumatology from across the EU to demand that policymakers acknowledge the impact RMDs have on a person’s ability to participate in society and so create national plans to address the burden of RMDs.

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MSDs responsible for more sick days than any other health condition

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Muscle and joint pain costs
European economies up to €240 billion a year

New study reveals musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) responsible for more sick days than any other health condition

Brussels, 30 September 2009 – A new study today finds that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for nearly half (49%) of all absences from work and 60% of permanent work incapacity in the European Union. These and other socio-economic consequences of suffering from poor health due to muscle and joint pain represent an estimated cost to society in Europe of up to €240 billion.
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Press Release: Health of Ireland’s workforce is undermining our competitiveness

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Health of Ireland’s workforce is undermining our competitiveness

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) cause 50% of absences from work and costs Irish economy €750 million annually yet early diagnosis and intervention could keep more Irish workers Fit For Work

DUBLIN, 7th May: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including back pain, work- related upper-limb disorder and rheumatic diseases including arthritis, are the cause of 50 percent of sick days in Ireland costing the economy an estimated €750 million each year. But early detection and intervention can reduce the burden on the Government’s health and disability budgets. The report, published by The Work Foundation based in the UK, presents evidence that work is good for your health and adopting an approach that focuses on capacity rather than incapacity is also better for the employees who suffer from any of these conditions. (more…)

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New European Study Looks at the Importance of Good Health and the Psychosocial and Economic Consequences of a Dynamic Labour Market

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

As Europeans prepare to observe Labour Day, researchers ask:
Are musculoskeletal disorders undermining a productive and competitive European workforce?

Brussels, 29 April 2009 – As Labour Day approaches on May 1st, and Governments across Europe seek to keep their citizens healthy and productive in work, a new pan-European study is examining the economic, health, psychological and sociological consequences of unemployment.

Advised by a panel of leading experts on employment and health, the 25-country study is gathering data with a particular focus on people who live with Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). The issue is a hot topic and has already been the subject of a recent European Commission proposal and a lunch debate in the European Parliament.  The study, led by the Work Foundation, a UK-based not for profit research and consultancy organisation, is part of the Fit for Work initiative, and further background on Fit for Work – including blogs and videos casts from experts including Members of the European Parliament – will be hosted on      www.fitforworkeurope.eu to be launched on May 1st.
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“Fit for Work” announces advisory board

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Experts from the worlds of health, employment and research to oversee
25-country study on the socio-economic impact of musculoskeletal disorders

Brussels, 16 March 2009 – An Advisory Board of five leading experts has been announced to oversee The Work Foundation led 25-country “Fit for Work” study into the prevalence and impact on health and work of musculoskeletal disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic lower back pain and injuries to joints, muscles and tendons. They are:
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Aching joints: Are musculoskeletal disorders undermining a productive and competitive European workforce?

Monday, January 12th, 2009

UK research organisation to conduct study on socio-economic impact of disorders

Brussels, 12 January 2009 – A groundbreaking study is launched today in 24 countries across Europe to understand how certain chronic health conditions affect people’s ability to work and make contributions to society. The study will also consider the impact on public welfare systems of supporting significant numbers of people who are unable to participate in labour markets.

The study, called “Fit for Work,” is led by The Work Foundation, a UK-based not for profit research and consultancy organisation. It will assess the prevalence and impact of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic lower back pain and injuries to joints, muscles and tendons. It will examine how these conditions affect a person’s daily life and what cost they place upon societies as a whole.

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