We’re calling on the Government to improve work support for people with arthritis. Will you join us?

20 June 2024
Ken pruning plants in his garden

We know that too many people with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions are unable to work when they want to.

In fact, musculoskeletal problems are one of the main reasons (21%) given for economic inactivity caused by ill-health.

But with the right support, many people with arthritis can not only continue to work but thrive in their careers.

Take employment support programmes, like Access to Work. This can be a real lifeline for people living with arthritis, providing essential support like helping them travel to and from work, offering flexible working, and providing adaptive equipment like a standing desk.

But the truth is too many people are waiting too long to access these vital services. For example, waiting times for Access to Work tripled between March 2021 and 2022.

This simply isn’t good enough.

That’s why we’re calling on the next UK Government to make arthritis a priority.

And, right now, we need local parliamentary candidates to understand how they can stand up for our community if they’re elected – including improving work support for people living with arthritis.

But we can’t do this alone. Will you join us and write to your local candidates asking them to stand up for people with arthritis if they’re elected?

Email your candidates now


Working with arthritis: Ken’s story

Ken holding bird feeder

Ken, 64, lives with osteoarthritis, and says he’s struggled to continue working as a nurse due to his condition.

“I know that being a nurse hasn’t helped my condition – in fact, it’s probably resulted in more deterioration,” he says.

“So many NHS staff end up with some sort of musculoskeletal condition because of how physical the job is, but there’s no real support for us.

“I work as a bank nurse now, so I only have to work as many days as I feel able to, but even then, it’s hard.

I’ve spoken with my managers to try and figure out a way to lessen the workload and make it easier, but nothing’s come of it. I’ve even had ergonomic assessments done, but the recommendations were ignored.”

“We deserve better support than this”

Ken, 64, who lives with osteoarthritis

What data or statistics do we have about working with arthritis?

  • People with arthritis are up to 20% less likely to be in work than those without the condition.
  • Arthritis and musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions have a severe impact on the economy, resulting in 23.4 million working days lost in 2022. 
  • The cost of working days lost due to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis was estimated at £2.58 billion in 2017 rising to £3.43 billion by 2030.

What must the next UK Government do to improve work support?

We’re calling on the next Government to:

  • Support more people with arthritis and MSK conditions to start and stay in work, by increasing access to occupational health and improving timely access to employment support programmes.
  • Promote and improve awareness of the Access to Work programme through a targeted campaign, highlighting how it can support people with arthritis and MSK conditions.
  • Listen and learn from people with arthritis when developing employment initiatives to support them to remain in or return to work.
Email your candidates now


“Arthritis can have a significant impact on people’s ability to work. Without the right employment support, people struggle to remain in work and are at risk of having to retire early.”

Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive at Versus Arthritis.

Images of people living with arthritis and text that reads '10 million reasons to take arthritis seriously'

Our manifesto for people with arthritis

A General Election is on the horizon - and it's time we come together and demand that the next UK Government makes arthritis a priority.

That’s why we’ve created a manifesto, outlining how the next UK Government could better support people living with arthritis.

As well as campaigning for improved work support, we’re also urging the next UK Government to:

  • Bring down waiting times for people with arthritis and support them while waiting.
  • Ensure arthritis is a priority in national health plans including improved data.
  • Increase funding into musculoskeletal research to match its severe impact.
  • Strengthen care and support for children and young people with arthritis
Read our manifesto in full

Were here for you

We know that working can be really challenging when you’re dealing with pain and fatigue. So, if you need advice or a listening ear, remember we’re always here for you.  

If you need advice or support, you can: