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Self-management of chronic musculoskeletal disorders and employment
05 September 2014

The report “Self-management of chronic musculoskeletal disorders and employment” captures the barriers which people with chronic MSDs are facing in the workplace, and makes a series of practical recommendations for the government, employers and clinicians to tackle the issue.

Our findings show that individuals’ health conditions and quality of life will continue to be damaged by work, with some leaving the labour market prematurely. The will lead to an increase in productivity loss, sickness absence and, ultimately, the welfare bill.

Key recommendations of study:

  • The government should increase awareness of and participation to initiatives like “Access to Work”, providing extra assistance for employees working in SMEs;
  • The government should also ensure that work is viewed as a clinical outcome by healthcare professionals, as well as investing in more “Specialist nurse” roles;
  • Employers should consider all necessary workplace adjustments and offer career development opportunities for people with chronic MSDs;
  • Healthcare professionals should view it as part of their role to ask patients about their work lives.

The research was commissioned to The Work Foundation by the Fit for Work UK Coalition – an active partnership of healthcare professionals, policymakers, employers and advocacy groups, which supports people with long-term conditions such as MSDs.