Complexities and Challenges: Working with multiple health conditions

Our Parliamentary launch of this report could hardly have been better timed to inform the Government’s consultation on its Green Paper on Work, Health and Disability.  Hosted by Lord McKenzie of Luton and with a keynote speech from Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, the Fit for Work UK Coalition’s contributions, such as in this report, were positively welcomed and seen as a valuable contribution to policy development.

Our analysis showed that those with long-term health conditions, on average have poorer employment outcomes than those who do not and those with multiple health conditions had the poorest outcomes and were the least likely to be employed.  One of the starkest findings concerned the impact of a mental health condition combined with a physical condition and people in this group experienced the lowest employment rates of all.

Based on detailed secondary analysis of the most comprehensive national dataset on this topic – the Health Survey for England – and presented alongside the results from our own newly commissioned survey, this unique analysis means that solid evidence about the impact of comorbidity on employment is publicly available for the first time.

The overwhelming clear and very positive message in the report is that for many people with multiple, long-term health conditions, work is a positive part of their lives, indicating that the ability to manage complex and multiple conditions brings important returns to individuals, employers and indeed society as a whole.

From a policy perspective, this is important, because this is a large and growing proportion of the population. We estimate that there are some 5 million people in England alone, whose complex health-issues affect their ability to work – either now or have the potential to do so in the future.