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Antonella Cardone
Executive Director of Fit for Work EU
Antonella Cardone

The economic and social cost of ignoring MSDs

Authors: Antonella Cardone Executive Director, Fit for Work

08 February 2016

Musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs) are the leading cause of sickness absence in Europe, accounting for half of all absences and 60% of permanent work incapacity. In addition, MSDs can affect annual European GDP by up to 2%, representing around €240bn in costs to the continent. Some 100 million Europeans have MSDs, equivalent to the combined populations of Belgium, Germany and Austria. MSDs have profound health related impacts on quality of life and capacity to work, and their growing incidence is gradually decreasing labour productivity and undermining economic growth in Europe.

Fit for Work Evolution

Fit for Work Europe is a multi-stakeholder Coalition led by The Work Foundation, driving policy and practice change across the work and health agendas, aiming to deliver more investment in sustainable healthcare by promoting and implementing early intervention practices, as research shows this approach is the most effective way of ensuring people with MSDs (musculoskeletal diseases) can enter and remain in work across the EU and globally. Originally founded in 2007 by The Work Foundation, Fit for Work has already expanded to cover over thirty countries in and beyond Europe. The success of Fit for Work Europe is rooted in its consistent delivery of rigorous, evidence-based analysis which proposes workable solutions to the societal and economic challenges of MSDs.

Fit for Work Global Alliance

Having devoted much of the energy lately to highlighting the benefits of early interventions which promote job retention and work ability, Fit for Work is now going to be focusing on the development of practical tools to support the design and implementation of early interventions around the world both in healthcare settings and in workplaces. To launch the Global Alliance and agree on priorities for 2016, over 25 experts have met in Warsaw on 28 and 29 January.