About Fit for Work
It is well documented that an individual's ability to work is of vital importance to both their own personal health but also to the health of the wider economy. Yet conventional measures to improve productivity fail to take account of one of the most serious barriers to growing prosperity: poor workforce health. Ill-health, even in a favourable economic climate, can reduce the aggregate level of labour productivity in an economy and damage the competitiveness and effectiveness of private and public sector organisations.
That is why Arthritis Ireland is leading the development of the Fit for Work programme in Ireland. We are advocating that improvements in early intervention, treatment and return to work practices could help people with even severe Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), such as arthritis, either stay in work or return to work sooner.
In 2007 a study by the Work Foundation found that there were often real health benefits associated with staying in, or returning to, work but that many employers, clinicians and even employees felt that temporary or permanent withdrawal from employment was the only option. The UK report achieved wide stakeholder interest when it was launched and stimulated Government thinking on early diagnosis and intervention of MSDs.