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Early Intervention Key to Quality of Life and Sustainable Health Systems

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Fit for Work Global Alliance, The Work Foundation, Asociácia na ochranu práv pacientov and the European Patients’ Forum organised on 9 and 10 November in Bratislava an International Summit on Early Intervention Solutions for Chronic Conditions, gathering over 80 delegates from throughout Europe.

Members of the Fit for Work (FfW) Global Alliance, partners and invited experts met in Bratislava to discuss and propose further work and next steps on the ongoing development of early intervention approaches to the management of chronic diseases with a specific focus on musculoskeletal conditions (MSKs). The event was held in conjunction with a special session under the auspices of the President of the Slovak Republic and in cooperation with the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic.

The Summit aimed at highlighting the value of Early Intervention (EI)as a fundamental solution to improve patient quality of life and to sustain health and social systems. As summarised by Cathy Garner, Director at The Work Foundation “there are three clear reasons why EI is of value:

  1. We can intervene to ensure illnesses do not exclude people from the workplace and we can prevent or ameliorate the development of chronic conditions, especially MSKs and pain. We can champion that it is not necessary for people to be so limited by their symptoms and that they can live a full life and work with its positive financial and psychological advantages.
  2. We can save cost to economy and society by reducing costs of long term care to health and welfare system. 120m people in Europe live in pain, 40m EU workers, with 50% of those with conditions excluded from work for three days or more. This will have a significant economic impact, equivalent to 2% GDP across EU.
  3. We can enable employers to retain their most skilled people and allow them to be productive.”

The Summit also underlined the importance of collaboration with other partners to work towards health, happiness and wellbeing of the patient. “There is huge alignment between EPF and FfW. I’d like to highlight our position paper on equal treatment in the workplace. We see an intrinsic link between FfW and patient empowerment in all its guises. This is also reflected in our contribution to the European Steering Group on Sustainable Healthcare” said Nicola Bedlington, EPF Secretary General.

Dominik Tomek, FfW Slovakia and EPF Board member, introduced the FfW Global Alliance Call to Action, which calls on the Slovakian EU Presidency and relevant stakeholders to prioritise strategies that provide for an appropriate and integrated policy framework based on the concept of Early Intervention. Such a framework can be instrumental in maintaining the well-being and workability of those with chronic conditions – including MSKs – and thereby contributing to sustained EU public health systems and economic growth. Dominik stressed the need to  study it and disseminate it on your website, publish it, try to present it to your colleagues” and concluded with the summary statement “early intervention is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

To know more about the Fit for Work Global Alliance and the event, visit its website.

Contact persons:

Sara Gayarre, Communications Assistant: sara.gayarre@eu-patient.eu

Antonella Cardone, FfW Executive Director: a.cardone@lancaster.ac.uk 

Related Information

FfW Call to Action