Instead of ordering patients to stay off work until symptoms clear up, they should take into account the mental health benefits to patients of being employed. The report also suggests that early access to physiotherapy or to drug therapies can help reduce severity, impact and progression of musculoskeletal conditions.
Conditions such as arthritis and back pain account for up to a third of all primary care consultations and cost the economy £7.4 billion a year in lost working days.
Clinicians should focus on what a patient can do rather than on what they cannot when diagnosing musculoskeletal conditions, according to the report.
Michelle Mahdon, senior researcher at The Work Foundation, said: 'What needs to change is the attitude of many that a musculoskeletal disorder sufferer must be 100 per cent before return to work. Too many see only incapacity rather than capacity.'
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