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Arthritis: Industrial Health and Safety

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 17 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase awareness of rheumatoid arthritis in the workplace; and what plans he has to issue guidance to employers on supporting employees with rheumatoid arthritis. (172907)

As part of the cross-Government Health, Work and Well-being Strategy, we are working to improve the support that is available to employers to support staff with long-term conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, to obtain and to remain in work.

This includes a free occupational health and return to work support and advice service for small and medium sized businesses, which is being piloted by the Health and Safety Executive until February 2008.

We have also established a Vocational Rehabilitation Task Force to look at the best ways of encouraging and supporting employers to provide good quality rehabilitative services to their staff.

We are also encouraging employers to provide good quality occupational health services and through the Health, Work and Well-being Strategy, we are working to engage employers and show them the business benefits of taking action to support their staff.