World Arthritis Day 2019

Time2Work - NRAS - RA and Work

This year’s World Arthritis Day’s theme is #Time2Work which is part of the overall EULAR Campaign Don’t Delay, Connect Today to highlight the importance of early diagnosis and treatment for rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

Work is central to human existence and the motive force for all economies. For individuals, it provides structure and meaning and is good for people’s health and wellbeing, as well as their financial health and prosperity. Moreover, work benefits families and is socially inclusive.

Professor Dame Carol Black wrote these words in her report to Tony Blair’s government “Working for a healthier tomorrow” in 2008. Almost a decade later, the report which NRAS published in collaboration with the University of Manchester at the end of 2017 entitled “Work Matters” is a very important survey of more than 1000 people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Despite a number of government initiatives, the survey suggests that many people with inflammatory arthritis are struggling to find the type of work that they want and need.

The first recommendation in our report was:

Government should incentivise employers to incorporate training of workforce, particularly line managers, in how to support employees with long-term conditions/disabilities and ensure this is included in all new employee induction processes. The emphasis should be on providing early support to prevent employees getting to a crisis point where job loss or reduction of hours is more likely or inevitable.

As part of our commitment to support the above recommendation, NRAS invested in creating two important videos both of which were interviews with key employer organisations in the UK which focus on how and why employers should provide better support to people with RA and other long term conditions in the workplace as this benefits not only the employee but the employer as well. Often employers, particularly the smaller to medium sized enterprises who don’t have HR departments, simply don’t know how best to support their employees with a long-term condition like RA, or where to go for information and support. The first video, an interview with Rain Newton-Smith and the second video, an interview with Neil Carberry, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, can be seen here.

Both these videos were launched at an event held at the King’s Fund in London on September, 18th, 2019 and the whole event was filmed. A video of edited highlights of the event has been created to be launched on World Arthritis Day, 2019 (12th October) and this, together with a shorter video clip for use on social media can be accessed below. The edited highlights video will be shared by EULAR across Europe to highlight the importance of work and the need to support people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases in the workplace under this year’s theme #Time2Work.

To learn more how NRAS is improving support for people with RA in the workplace, visit https://www.nras.org.uk/work

Work and Rheumatoid Arthritis Publications