Embedding work and related outcomes into social prescribing: overcoming challenges and maximising opportunities

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Background

In recent years, there has been increasing interest from high level national and regional policymakers in social prescribing as a means of improving public health and wellbeing. This has included growing recognition of its role in supporting individuals to find and/or retain work. This is significant given how important work – and in particular ‘good’ work – is for people’s self-esteem, personal fulfilment, and, in turn, their health and wellbeing. As such, work is increasingly being recognised as a ‘health outcome’ in and of itself.

This paper

This research has sought to investigate whether this changing policy emphasis has influenced social prescribing in practice, thus resulting in changes to social prescribing services’ work ‘offer’ and emphasis placed on work and related outcomes. We have explored the ‘value’ attached to work and the degree to which barriers to embedding work-related outcomes persist in current social prescribing services. Ultimately, we aimed to inform policymakers about the realities of social prescribing as a route to work and whether these ‘high level’ policy aspirations have come closer to being realised.


Society’s headache: the socioeconomic impact of migraine

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Background

Migraine is a common and disabling primary headache disorder. It is the third most common disease in the world in both males and females. Globally, it is the highest cause of years lived with disability (YLDs) amongst those aged 15-49. This is generally when people are at their most productive, furthering their careers and starting families – it therefore has a huge impact on people’s career paths and the economy in general.

This paper

The overall aims of the research were to:

  • assess the prevalence and socioeconomic impact of migraine on the UK, estimating both the indirect and direct costs attributable to it;
  • explore the barriers to optimal health and work-related outcomes for people with migraine; and
  • develop a series of evidence-based recommendations – aimed at policymakers – which have the potential to reduce migraine’s burden for the benefit of government, employers and the millions of individuals (and their families) in the UK that experience it.

INFOGRAPHIC


Migraine’s impact on employment in Europe: what can be done to improve work outcomes for people with migraine?

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This paper is the culmination of a programme of work which aims to improve the experience of work for people living with migraine (PLWM). In doing so, it has sought to establish:

  • the case for action on migraine in the workplace, demonstrating that migraine is a serious condition with a substantial, but addressable, cost and impact on individuals’ working lives;
  • what a ‘migraine-friendly’ workplace looks like; and
  • what steps can be taken to make workplaces more migraine-friendly and thus improve the experience of work for PLWM.

This paper is split into three parts. The first (Chapter 2) provides a definition of migraine, an estimate of its prevalence and costs, and its impact on employment in Europe. The second part (Chapter 3) draws on evidence of the challenges PLWM experience in the workplace and, in turn, maps out what a ‘good’, ‘migraine-friendly’ work environment would look like. In the third part (Chapter 4) we consider what policy action can be taken to create more migraine-friendly work environments which will, in turn, improve the experience of work for PLWM. Finally, we outline our conclusions and recommendations (Chapter 5).

The work has been informed by an evidence review of relevant academic and grey literature, analysis of the latest data on migraine from a range of sources, and insights gained from qualitative interviews with a number of EU and country level stakeholders with expertise in areas ranging from the management of migraine and other health conditions – in both clinical and workplace settings – to organisational change and workplace innovation. It therefore offers an account of how to improve the experience of work for PLWM from the perspective of a diverse range of stakeholders (i.e. covering not just health but also social and employment policy).

INFOGRAPHIC SUMMARY


Who cares? The implications of informal care and work for policymakers and employers

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Background

The number of informal carers in the UK is substantial and growing. Between 2001 and 2011, their number rose significantly (outstripping population growth) from 5.8 million to 6.5 million. Most carers are women (around 60%) and the vast majority (around 4.1 million) are of working age. Furthermore, the majority of working age carers (2.6 million) combine work with their caring responsibilities. Due to several factors, in particular the ageing population and declining investment in social care services, the number of informal carers is expected to rise. Estimates suggest they will number 9 million by 2037. The economic value of their contribution is huge – and the UK’s health and social care system is heavily and increasingly reliant on it.

This paper

This paper outlines some of the implications associated with the growing number of informal carers in the UK, the health and social care system’s increasingly unsustainable reliance on them, and what Government and employers can do about it. This is informed by the academic and grey literature, as well as a workshop we hosted in 2017 (in partnership with Simplyhealth) , which was attended by over 30 expert stakeholders from government and non-government bodies, individual carers, carers charities, think tanks, and businesses.

This paper is the third in the Health at Work Policy Unit series, Gender, sex, health and work, which explores the issue of health and work through a ‘gendered’ lens. This series focuses on areas where gender and sex have a significant impact on work and/or health outcomes. Other papers in the series include:

For more information, see our background paper and accompanying infographics.