Support for workers with arthritis

Fiona Bruce MP hosts event in Parliament and calls on the Government to provide more support for workers with Arthritis
Fiona Bruce MP hosted an event in Parliament on behalf of Arthritis Research UK to highlight the major impact of arthritis on people’s ability to work, and to call on the Government to provide more support for workers with arthritis to help close the ‘arthritis employment gap.’
Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions like back pain affect one in six of us, and arthritis is the number one cause of pain and disability, according to Arthritis Research UK. It causes pain, stiffness and fatigue that can make every day work tasks such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting, and typing difficult. Only 60% of working age people with a musculoskeletal condition are in work, compared to 80% among those without a health condition or a disability. This ‘arthritis work gap’ means that 600,000 people with arthritis are currently missing out on the opportunity to work. It is also the leading cause of workplace absence in the UK, causing 32.4 million sick days each year.
Fiona Bruce MP said:
“The ability to work is something that we often take for granted, but I’ve learnt from talking to local constituents and working closely with Arthritis UK how difficult this can be for those living with the pain and unpredictability of arthritis. I was shocked to learn about its impact in the in the Congleton Constituency - almost 18% of people in Cheshire East are living with back pain, a leading cause of sickness absence!
Fiona continued:
“But with the right support, many people are able to work. That’s why I was so pleased to host this event in Parliament, to communicate to fellow MPs the impact of this terrible condition on workplace sickness absence in the UK and to press for change in this vital area. The Government must ensure that there is a level playing field so that people with arthritis who are able to work have the right support to remain and return to work.
The event follows a Parliamentary debate on the 20thOctober 2016, which for the first time in five years brought the issue of arthritis to the fore. In this debate, Fiona Bruce MP powerfully told the story of a constituent, Christine Walker, a long-time sufferer of arthritis and supporter of the charity Arthritis UK. Christine was subsequently invited by Fiona to attend the recent event where she spoke with MPs, telling them of her experiences with the condition and further emphasising the need for action on the issue.
Following the event, Christine said:
“I was so pleased to attend the event in Parliament hosted by Fiona Bruce and to share my experiences with MPs, not only to expose them to the terrible impacts of arthritis, but to show them that with the right support and flexibility, living and working with arthritis becomes achievable. I hope that through events such as this, and through the hard work of MPs such as Fiona, we might be able to see changes.”


To find out more about working when you are living with arthritis please visit Arthritis UK’s website at http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/arthritis-and-daily-life/work-and-arthritis.aspx
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