Sundial Principal, Matthew Bennett, recently attended a reception at the House of Commons and met a minister and several MPs as well as representatives from the MSK community. He was invited as President of the British Chiropractic Association to the launch of the new Arthritis Research UK report – Working with Arthritis. This report laid out the extent of conditions including back pain, osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and the impact this has on work.
Matthew met Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People who said “Supporting disabled people into work is a priority for this government which is why our Access to Work grants are available throughout people’s careers.
“I strongly encourage employers and employees to take up this support so that we can reduce the disability employment gap and make sure everyone benefits from being in work.”
The Minister went on to say that the government was providing a further 25,000 places this year in addition to the 37,000 places currently available on the Access to Work scheme. This scheme helps especially small and medium-sized businesses provide support and to make adjustments to the working environment to get disabled people back to work and to keep them in work.
At a national level, the need to address MSK conditions in a work context is clear. Only two thirds of working age people with a musculoskeletal condition are in work and these conditions are now leading the cause of sickness absence, resulting in a fifth of all absence-around 3.6 million working days lost each year. Back pain alone cost the economy an estimated £10 billion each year. The burden of MSK conditions is likely to worsen as the population ages and people are expected to lead longer working lives.
The report highlighted that people with MSK conditions often make adaptations so that they can keep working. Some choose to change the type of work they do, reduce their hours, or become self-employed changing duties, flexible arrangements which allow people to work in comfortable settings and pace activity, and the ability to take emergency leave can help people with arthritis to stay in work.
Matthew Bennett said “The reception was a wonderful opportunity to meet the Minister and MPs and hear their views on the importance of MSK conditions. It is clear that the government is taking this problem very seriously
“Chiropractors have a key role in treating not only spine related MSK conditions but also advising and supporting people with other inflammatory conditions and osteoporosis. The BCA is committed to working with all stakeholders in the MSK community. Indeed, our vision is to become the leader in spine care and to work collaboratively to achieve this.”
Arthritis research UK is the charity dedicated to stopping the impact that arthritis has on people’s lives. Their focus is on reducing the pain and keeping people active. Their remit covers all conditions which affect the joints bones and muscles including back pain osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. They fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis and they provide information on how to maintain healthy joints and bones and how to live well with arthritis. Along with BCA they are members of ARMA.