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Giving people with arthritis a voice to explain why work matters

Arthritis Today Spring 2017Arthritis Research UK's policy team with MP Fiona BruceIn autumn 2016 we told you about the launch of our Work Matters to Me campaign, arguing for greater support for people with arthritis to return to, and remain in, work. Thanks to your active support the first stage of the campaign has ensured people with arthritis have been given an opportunity to explain to policymakers why work matters to them.

More than 260 people responded to our campaign call to share their views and experiences about work and arthritis. This fantastic response meant your stories featured heavily in the evidence submitted in the Arthritis Research UK response to the Government’s Disability Employment consultation. 346 of our supporters also got involved, writing to the Government, asking them to create a level playing field for people with arthritis, so everyone with the condition can flourish in the workplace.

Next steps

In February, we entered the next stage of our campaign by holding a drop-in session at Parliament for over 50 MPs giving them the opportunity to find out about the challenges facing people living and working with arthritis. We then asked MPs to write to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions reinforcing the recommendations from our campaign to close the arthritis work gap, which included:

  • increased funding for the Access to Work Scheme for those in work
  • ensuring back-to-work schemes like Work Choice and the Work and Health Programme cater for people with arthritis
  • ensuring that the health and care system supports improvement through regular collection of data on arthritis.

Now, as the Government begins to put its plans into action for increasing the number of disabled people in work, we must keep up the pressure on politicians to make sure the needs of people with arthritis are kept at the forefront of their plans. The next stage in the legislative process will be the publication of a White Paper on Disability Employment. As soon as this happens we will need your support to help us continue to argue for greater support for people with arthritis in the workplace.

So please get involved and find out how you can help to give people with arthritis a strong voice in parliament.

Read next: Research explores link between a baby’s movement in the womb and increased risk of osteoarthritis

A pregnant woman having an ultrasound scan

Pioneering technology is being used to explore whether movements in the womb lead to joint abnormalities and an increased risk of osteoarthritis later in life.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.