A new report by workplace think tank, the Work Foundation, has revealed the scale of the impact of migraine on the UK economy. The research, which was funded by Novartis, found that a total of 86 million workdays are lost every year through migraine-related work absenteeism and presenteeism, (where people work while they are ill). It found that this was costing the UK economy almost £8.8 billion a year.
The report calls on government and national bodies to come together to develop a long-term strategy for improving migraine care across employment and health systems. It proposes this strategy aims at three key pillars:
- Improving care: Establish a clear and unambiguous patient pathway
- Improving public understanding: Educate on painful and debilitating nature of migraine
- Improving outcomes in the workplace: Empower employers to understand their employees’ needs
The Migraine Trust welcomes the report as there needs to be a national public awareness strategy to increase understanding of migraine and tackle stigma in the workplace. We believe that there should be appropriate government-led support and incentives for employers to provide flexible working systems to be able to employ and retain staff with fluctuating and episodic conditions.
We are working with NHS RightCare in England and healthcare professionals to develop a pathway for optimal care. The pathway can be used by commissioners to understand what services are needed to improve care for people with migraine in the local area, with the aim of reducing variation in care outcomes nationally.
We are also bringing together key stakeholders, experts and decision makers through the establishment of the UK Headache Network. The aim of this is also to reduce unwarranted variation in care and outcomes for people living with migraine and other headache disorders.
To support people in managing their migraine at work, we have developed a toolkit which has information about migraine in the workplace and guidance for when difficulties arise.
Download the toolkit ‘Migraine: Help at work’
Access the Work Foundation’s report, Society’s Headache: The Socioeconomic Impact of Migraine
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