People living with arthritis need better support in order to be able to work according to a new survey. The survey report, Arthritis and Work, is published today (30/5/17) by Arthritis Care Scotland, the leading charity for people with arthritis, and shows that people living with arthritis are likely to work for fewer years than people in the general population. Carried out by Glasgow University’s Training& Employment Research Unit, the survey found that arthritis had a high impact on work for over four fifths of respondents with less than half now able to work due to their arthritis.
The charity is calling for a better understanding of the impact of arthritis in the workplace as well as improved access to employment support and disability benefits for people with arthritis.
Director of Arthritis Care Scotland, Angela Donaldson-Bruce said, “Whether it’s giving up work, reducing hours or changing duties or jobs, people with arthritis are being forced to make choices they might otherwise not make. Coping with pain and fatigue is difficult enough but to have your livelihood threatened can be devastating. We urgently need better understanding by employers and more supportive work environments. In particular, people with arthritis have told us that support from managers and colleagues is crucial and that healthcare professionals and employability support services need to play a greater role.
With the number of people with arthritis set to double over the next 15 years, we need to address these workplace issues urgently.”
The survey found that
· Arthritis makes people vulnerable to unemployment or early retirement
· Pain and fatigue are the key barriers to work (two thirds of people reported this)
· There is a particular impact on older workers (between 55-64)
· Half of people with arthritis in work need to take time off for medical appointments or sickness absence
· There is a lack of targeted support to help people remain in work.
The report is being launched in Glasgow at the Annual Conference of the Health & Social Care Alliance Scotland.
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