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Archive for February, 2013

NHS incurring needlessly high sick pay costs as many staff with musculoskeletal disorders still lack support to remain working

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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Recent NICE proposals must do more to support workers with long-term health conditions

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Last week (1 February) NICE published a consultation on potential new indicators for the Clinical Commissioning Group Outcomes Indicator Set (CCGOIS), which will replace the Clinical Outcomes Framework (COF) in 2014.

Responding, Professor Stephen Bevan of The Work Foundation and the campaigning coalition, Fit For Work UK, said:

“It is disappointing that Clinical Commissioning Groups will not be incentivised to commission services that prioritise work outcomes of individuals with long-term conditions, despite the fact that work is included in most other health service indicators.  A patients’ ability to work is important for their quality of life, including independent living; supporting more people back into work has obvious benefits for the economy and society.

“This is especially critical in the case of the thousands of UK workers who have musculoskeletal health problems. For example, within three years of diagnosis, half of people with rheumatoid arthritis are registered as work disabled*, with musculoskeletal diseases costing the UK at least £7 billion a year and causing at least 10 million lost working days each year. Considering work when commissioning health services is one of the steps to reduce this economic burden of disability and productivity. “

Ends

Note to editors

1. Professor Stephen Bevan and senior researcher, Ksenia Zheltoukhova are available for interviews, briefings and written comment.
2. Fit for Work UK is a campaigning coalition established in 2011 with the aim to shift the treatment and care of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from being disabling conditions to manageable conditions.
3. The Work Foundation aims to be the leading independent, international authority on work and its future. The Work Foundation is part of Lancaster University – an alliance that enables both organisations to further enhance their impact.
4. Fit for Work Europe is a unique multi-stakeholder coalition that strives to better align the work and health agendas in the EU and to shift the perception of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from being disabling conditions to manageable conditions, ensuring that more European citizens stay or return to work, while helping to improve the sustainability of Europe’s health and welfare systems. Fit for Work is a partnership of organisations and individuals, and enjoys the patronage of The Work Foundation, the UN’s Bone and Joint Decade, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and RAND Europe. The Fit for Work Europe Coalition is supported by an ongoing grant from Abbott – a founding partner – and a supporting grant from GE Healthcare.

Media enquiries:

Tom Phillips 020 7976 3554
tphillips@theworkfoundation.com

Anna Kharbanda 020 7976 3646
akharbanda@theworkfoundation.com

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

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