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Jobs risk to arthritis sufferers

07 May 2007

PA News

Almost one in three people with rheumatoid arthritis lose their jobs after developing the disease, a new report has revealed.

Campaigners called for urgent action from the Government and employers to prevent so many workers being laid off.

A special task force of medical experts and charity officials said there should be a series of measures to help many of the 600,000 sufferers stay in work.

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society said a "staggering" 86% of people with the disease experienced or expected barriers to staying in their job.

Chief executive Ailsa Bosworth said: "People with rheumatoid arthritis want to stay in work and remain independent, but many are fearful of losing their jobs and all too often are shunted onto incapacity benefit when they really want to be paying income tax."

The task force said the Government should be investing in initiatives to help sufferers stay in work, and to make them aware of their legal rights to ensure that newly diagnosed patients were better informed about the treatment they were entitled to.

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