New Zealand's health and welfare system is spending more than $5.5 billion every year due to a high number of people suffering from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as arthritis, according to a Fit for Work report.
More than 20 percent of New Zealanders are suffering from MSDs and account for over 25 percent of the total annual health care costs in the country. MSDs are also the second largest cause of Sickness and Invalid benefit payments and also affect the productivity of thousands of workers, the report said.
The report, developed by The Work Foundation, said that affected employees should be adequately supported by the government, employers and doctors so that they can return to work as soon as possible.
Says Sandra Kirby, CEO Arthritis New Zealand. "We all have a role to play - Government, healthcare providers and employers - in supporting workers and ensuring they are effectively equipped to manage their condition, perform their work duties and live well. For people with arthritis there are also adjustments - we know people want to work - making it happen is the shared challenge."