Fit for Work Summit to Make NZ More Productive
Fit for Work Summit to Look at Ways to Make NZ More Productive
Forum of key sector stakeholders looks at how to help better manage MSDs
WELLINGTON, Wednesday 23 October – The Fit for Work Summit, convened by Arthritis New Zealand in partnership with AbbVie, yesterday brought together key medical, government and industry stakeholders with special guest Professor Stephen Bevan of the Work Foundation. The summit will address possible ways to better deliver care to New Zealanders living with Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) learning from the experiences of other countries .
The occasion marks a significant milestone in the journey to alleviate the cost of MSDs to New Zealand’s health care system, estimated at $5.57billion each year1. MSDs, the most common forms of which are all types of arthritis, are the second largest cause of Sickness and Invalid benefit payments due to both direct and indirect effects of ill health1.
Sandra Kirby, CEO Arthritis New Zealand says the Summit is the first time a range of different stakeholders have come together to look what measures can be put in place to address MSDs.
“The summit is especially timely given the current changes to the benefit system that aim to encourage people to return to work. Musculoskeletal conditions were the second leading cause of people being on long term disability benefits according to the Ministry of Social Development, and the Fit for Work Report released last year.
“Initiatives such as a national management plan may work to get MSDs diagnosed and treated earlier, effectively reducing hospitalisation and need for medication and ensuring people can stay in the workforce,” says Kirby.
The summit follows the 2012 benchmark Fit for Work Report by the University of Lancaster’s Work Foundation; showing MSDs such as arthritis affect one in six New Zealanders and are reducing the productivity of thousands of workers at huge cost to the health and welfare system1.
Professor Stephen Bevan, Director, Centre for Workforce Effectiveness, The Work Foundation, a foremost world expert on the economic impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) presented at the Summit to share global best practice policies that improve labour market participation among people with long-term health conditions.
“For the first time, Arthritis New Zealand and AbbVie have brought together all of the key organisations and representatives of the MSD community to look at how New Zealand may develop a roadmap that will positively impact workplace participation. Based on our experience in Europe and other markets we know that if people with MSDs are supported to remain in the work place and out of the healthcare system it improves overall wellbeing and productivity.”
The Summit is intended to lay down
the groundwork for a national roadmap to provide better
support for people with MSDs both in and out of the