CALLS are being made for workers with arthritis to get more support.
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond is calling on the government to help close the ‘employment gap’ for those with the disability.
Arthritis is the number one cause of pain, disability and working days lost in the UK with 32.4m days lost last year, according to Arthritis Research UK.
Mrs Drummond met recently with Catherine Manning from the charity who highlighted the issue at a parliamentary briefing.
Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, like back pain, affect one in six of the population, according to figures from Arthritus UK.
In Portsmouth, 32,927 people suffer from back pain or 15.92 per cent of the total population.
Mrs Drummond was told only 60 per cent of working age people with a musculoskeletal condition are in work, compared to 80 per cent among those without a health condition or a disability.
This ‘arthritis work gap’ means that 600,000 people with arthritis are currently missing out on the opportunity to work.
Mrs Drummond said: ‘This is a very common condition that is stopping people from working but with a little support and flexibility it could unlock employment opportunities for many with the condition.
‘So I am supporting Arthritis Research UK’s Work Matters to Me campaign and I will be writing to ministers to ask for a level playing field so that people with arthritis who are able to work have the right support to remain and return to work.’