EULAR has launched the Time2Work campaign to raise awareness of the impact rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) have, not only on individuals, but wider society, productivity and our economies and what can be done to improve this situation.
Affecting one quarter of the EU population (120 million), RMDs are the biggest cause of sick leave and premature retirement due to physical disability. As one of the main causes of physical disability, RMDs contribute considerably to loss of productivity in the workplace.
“Work is a critical part of building self-esteem and it’s a tragedy that so much talent is lost from the workforce,” said Professor Iain McInnes, EULAR President Elect. “Today we call for three things – greater access to early interventions to limit the pain, tiredness and immobility that make it difficult to keep working, greater awareness of the challenges people with rheumatic diseases face and a review of the way we work. Small adjustments like flexible hours, improved access, home working and standing desks could make all the difference. EULAR is committed to increasing the participation of people with RMDs in work by 2023 and the Time2Work campaign is an important part of helping us achieve this goal.”
Time2Work is part of EULAR’s ongoing Don’t Delay, Connect Today campaign which is committed to raising awareness of the importance of early diagnosis of RMDs. Early diagnosis, early referral to a rheumatologist and early access to effective treatments are known to improve outcomes, quality of life and the ability to work, but diagnosis is often delayed or never received.
“Keeping people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases in work not only benefits individuals, but also the whole of society,” says Marios Kouloumas, EULAR Campaign Lead and President of the Cyprus League Against Rheumatism. “We need to ensure that people who develop RMDs are diagnosed early and have access to the latest, most effective treatments and the right support to help them remain in work. We also need to encourage employers to adopt inclusive practices and universal designs – workplaces that are good for people with disabilities are good for everyone.”
EULAR’s Time2Work campaign calls for the RMD community to come together to help people with RMDs access and remain in work. The campaign encompasses all three pillars of EULAR: People with Arthritis and Rheumatism in Europe (PARE), Health Professionals in Rheumatology (HPR), and Scientific Societies across Europe.