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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 23:20 GMT 00:20 UK
Firms should help sick workers return
Nurse and patient
Work related illnesses and injuries cost the UK 14bn a year
Thousands of victims of workplace injury and illness are being let down by poor rehabilitation services, says a new report.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Trades Union Congress (TUC) are calling for better help for victims and their families and, in particular, greater assistance from employers.


With so many people invalided out of work each year, getting them back to fitness and back to work is the crucial challenge of the next decade

John Monks
TUC general secretary

People are prevented from returning to work because rehabilitation services are uneven and fragmented, says the report.

As a result, Britain now lags behind other industrialised countries in providing rehabilitation and 27,000 people each year are forced to give up work forever.

The report called "Getting Back To Work" identifies three main problems:

  • Lack of early intervention to help people who are injured or ill.

  • A fragmented system, with no clear leadership in co-ordinating rehabilitation services or research.

  • Uneven distribution of rehabilitation resources throughout the UK.

John Monks, general secretary of the TUC, said that people should be able to keep their jobs and get them back as soon as possible.

Losses due to long-term work illnesses
27,000 people leave employment each year from work injury or ill health, and never return
14.5m working days are lost each year because of work-related ill health
These absences cost Britain 14bn a year
"With so many people invalided out of work each year, getting them back to fitness and back to work is the crucial challenge of the next decade," he said.

ABI Director General Mary Francis criticised the lack of rehabilitation services.

She said: "The current system is failing ill and injured workers and their families.

"The longer someone is off work ill, the less chance they have of returning. This can have far-reaching consequences for the injured person, their family and their employer."

See also:

10 Jun 02 | UK Politics
29 May 02 | UK Politics
10 Apr 02 | UK Politics
07 Mar 02 | Business
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