Britain being overwhelmed by long-term conditions, warns foundation

February 11, 2016

The rising tide of people with long-term conditions threatens to overwhelm Britain's economy and the NHS, according to a new report published today by leading think tank, Lancaster University's Work Foundation.

The Work Foundation is calling on the to consider the use of and to employers who help support with long term to remain in work. The impact on the economy is already estimated to be well over £100 billion per year and will get significantly worse, unless immediate action is taken by government and the NHS. Employment rates for people with long-term conditions are persistently low, despite work being possible and beneficial for many.

Employers are also called on to do their bit, by ensuring their workplaces are open and supportive environments and that reasonable adjustments are made to help workers with long-term and fluctuating conditions. 

Sickness absence costs the UK economy around £22 billion a year with individuals losing out on a collective £4 billion in lost earnings as a result of illness. Mental illness alone was responsible for the loss of 70 million working days in 2007, and days lost to stress, depression and anxiety have risen by 24 per cent since 2009. 

The report, developed with the support of Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, sets out recommendations for how Government, the NHS and employers can do more to grow the economy through reducing welfare expenditure, increasing tax receipts and boosting productivity. 

Dr Zofia Bajorek, report author and researcher at Lancaster University's Work Foundation, stated: 

"Unless immediate action is taken the pressure on the economy and the NHS will become unbearable in the future. That means an even greater portion of our nation's finances will need to be spent on healthcare and welfare than ever before. 

"Many people with long-term conditions want to work but there are considerable barriers preventing them accessing or retaining employment. There are solutions to this problem but government, the NHS and employers need to work together to ensure that people with long-term conditions can get back to work. Government needs to incentivise businesses to support people with long-term conditions to remain in work whilst also ensuring that people with long-term conditions are diagnosed and treated sooner, improving the chances that they will remain economically active."

With an ageing population, the pension crisis and the growing burden of chronic disease, The Work Foundation is concerned that the situation will deteriorate without government action. The number of people with at least one long-term condition is estimated to rise to more than 17 million in the coming decades. Furthermore, by 2018, more than 2.9 million people will have multiple long-term health conditions, affecting their ability to work and increasing the cost to the NHS – a double hit on the nation's finances.

Explore further: Mental health treatment under the NHS is at extreme risk

More information: The report is available online: www.theworkfoundation.com/Repo … the-wider-UK-economy

Related Stories

Mental health treatment under the NHS is at extreme risk

January 7, 2016
The NHS of 2015 is in danger of being unethical for mental health counsellors to work in, according to a new paper from The University of Nottingham.

Health-care professionals back overhaul of prescription charging system in England

February 4, 2015
Two thirds of primary care health professionals think that the current exemption criteria for prescription charges in England should be widened to include anyone with a long term condition, reveal the results of a survey ...

New research into chronic condition reveals long-term cost to UK economy

September 15, 2011
Myalgic Encephalopathy [ME] or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome [CFS] causes severe debilitating fatigue and affects up to 2.6 per cent of adults in Britain.  New University of Bristol research, published today [15 Sep], into ...

English hospitals plan to introduce sugar tax

January 18, 2016
A sugar tax could be introduced in English hospitals in a move to tackle obesity that the National Health Service (NHS) said Monday could raise up to £40 million a year.

Research spotlights male healthcare attitudes

December 5, 2014
A researcher at the University of York, studying male attitudes towards self-managing long-term healthcare issues, has discovered that self-management support is better received by men if it does not threaten aspects of masculine ...

Working during depression can offer health benefits to employees

September 10, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Attending work while suffering a depressive illness could help employees better manage their depression more than taking a sickness absence from work, a new study has found.

Recommended for you

Simulation model finds Cure Violence program and targeted policing curb urban violence

December 14, 2017
When communities and police work together to deter urban violence, they can achieve better outcomes with fewer resources than when each works in isolation, a simulation model created by researchers at the UC Davis Violence ...

Your pets can't put your aging on 'paws'

December 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—In a finding that's sure to ruffle some fur and feathers, scientists report that having a pet doesn't fend off age-related declines in physical or mental health.

One in five patients report discrimination in health care

December 14, 2017
Almost one in five older patients with a chronic disease reported experiencing health care discrimination of one type or another in a large national survey that asked about their daily experiences of discrimination between ...

Searching for a link between achy joints and rainy weather in a flood of data, researchers come up dry

December 13, 2017
Rainy weather has long been blamed for achy joints. Unjustly so, according to new research from Harvard Medical School. The analysis, published Dec. 13 in BMJ, found no relationship between rainfall and joint or back pain.

Mistletoe and (a large) wine: Seven-fold increase in wine glass size over 300 years

December 13, 2017
Our Georgian and Victorian ancestors probably celebrated Christmas with more modest wine consumption than we do today - if the size of their wine glasses are anything to go by. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have ...

How well can digital assistants answer questions on sex?

December 13, 2017
Google laptop searches seem to be better at finding quality online sexual health advice than digital assistants on smartphones, find experts in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.