Paper urges investment in early healthcare interventions to improve productivity and employment outcomes

28 April 2015

Fit for Work Europe has released a paper calling on healthcare decision-makers, policy-makers, clinicians and employers, to invest in early healthcare interventions to improve productivity and employment outcomes of workers and patients.

The research explores the benefits of early interventions which help people with chronic illness remain in work and looks at how barriers to early intervention for individuals with chronic conditions can be overcome.

It demonstrates, through a series of case studies with cost-effectiveness measures that, in the right combination, early interventions focused on positive work outcomes for people with chronic ill-health were cost effective. This is because they were found (amongst other things) to: reduce sick leave and lost work productivity among workers with Musculoskeletal Disorders by more than 50 per cent; reduce healthcare costs by up to two-thirds; reduce disability benefits costs by up to 80 per cent and reduce the risk of permanent work disability and job loss by up to 50 percent.

Furthermore, it argues that healthcare interventions which focus on people at work will need to be prioritised as working age populations across much of the developed world get older, retire later and develop more work-limiting and chronic conditions which threaten their ability to stay active in the labour market: citing that in some countries it is forecast that by 2030 as many as 40 per cent of the working age population will have a long-term, work-limiting health condition.
Fit for Work Europe is a multi-stakeholder coalition, driving policy and practice change across the work and health agendas led by The Work Foundation and supported by AbbVie.

Their full report is available here.