Arthritis Care contributes to Healthy Working Lives conference

Maureen pictured presenting at Abbvie HWL Sept 17

The Healthy Working Lives Group was established in 1990 with the purpose to undertake research and teaching to improve the health and workability of the population. Taking place on 28 September in Glasgow, the Healthy Working Lives: Long term conditions don’t need to mean worklessness conference, supported by ABBVIE, brought together experts, patient organisations, and practitioners to share good practice and explore ways in which we can collectively work to help people remain in or return to work.

The conference was attended by employers, service providers, researchers and academics. Key note speakers were Dame Carol Black, Fit for Work Coalition and Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Employability and Training.

The day included various panels highlighting patient perspective on the importance of work as a health outcome, along with a panel of experts which included our Joint Working Manager, exploring how employers, employability service providers, the welfare system and health services can work together to keep people in work.

Arthritis Care Scotland had two members of staff contributing: Communications Assistant, Stacey Highfield took part in the patient voices video, which was screened at the event, featuring Dr Ewan MacDonald and two other patients. Stacey discussed her life since being diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis while still at school, the difficulties she had at college and work that eventually resulted in her losing her job at 23 years old. With the help of Arthritis Care Scotland, in partnership with other employability services she was able to go from fundraiser to blogger to volunteer, then after 5 years returned to the workplace. Embarking on her career at 29 with positivity and enthusiasm.

Maureen McAllister, our Joint Working Service Manager, delivered a presentation on the recent research carried out by Glasgow University on Arthritis and Work survey. Maureen discussed the Joint Working service and the evaluation report emphasizing that providing a condition specific service requires a joint working approach which puts the individual at the heart of it.  A good understanding of conditions such as arthritis that fluctuate is essential in order to help people deal with the uncertainty of the condition and find ways of managing this.” She then participated in the experts panel with Dr Stefan Seibert, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Rheumatology at University of Glasgow and Sarah Mitchell, NHS Scotland National MSK Framework to discuss what the NHS can do to support people remain in work.

Both staff members' involvement was well received and this in turn resulted in future opportunities.

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