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SIP 2017 - Key Statement

Prof. Dr. Michiel Reneman – University Medical Centre Groningen, Netherlands

"Because good work is good for health and wellbeing, work contributes to good patient care."



Prof. Dr. Michiel Reneman
Center for Rehabilitation & Rehabilitation Medicine
University Medical Center Groningen

Demographic trends tell us that in an ageing workforce and a higher retirement age the incidence of chronic conditions will be increasing. Natural aging processes and (multiple) chronic diseases will have a negative impact on work capacity.

Evidence tells us that early and appropriate clinical interventions aimed at and organized to support staying at work or return to work, can be both cost-effective and have a significant impact on workforce productivity and quality of life. At the moment, however, there are some substantial challenges that are barriers to a broad implementation of evidence based and cost-effective services for many EU citizens.

Among those are:

  1. Evidence based and cost-effective services are at present not available for all EU citizens.
  2. Modified work is not available for all EU citizens.
  3. ‘Healthcare’ and ‘work’ systems function independently, yet they are mutually dependent.
  4. Work is not considered a desirable or attainable clinical outcome by many healthcare professionals. Because good work and good health are related, this narrow perspective may actually harm patients.
  5. Beliefs of ‘the public’ about pain and work are often not based on evidence.

Michiel Reneman is Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine. His main focus areas are pain rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, and work participation. He is co-chair of the Pain Alliance in Netherlands (P.A.I.N.) member of the SIP Platform, and member of the Fit for Work Netherlands.