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EU presidency focuses on rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases
Date:10/21/2010

On 19 October 2010, experts from academia, scientific societies, patient organisations, Member States' government and social security institutions as well as EU bodies agreed upon a number of key policy recommendations for improving the management and prevention of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (MSKD). This set of recommendations, and specific initiatives for their implementation, were the main outcomes of the EU Presidency Conference on MSKD, organised in collaboration with EULAR, the European League Against Rheumatism. The recommendations embraced six areas of intervention: MSKD on health policy agendas; rights of patients to healthcare and to full inclusion in economic and social life; early prevention; evidence-based treatment and standards of care; patient involvement in the design, implementation and evaluation of healthcare services; and research. Conference recommendations culminated in the call for an EU Musculoskeletal Disease Strategy and national action plans.

Consensus was reached among participants concerning recognition of the socioeconomic importance of MSKD and the need for prioritising MSKD on health policy agendas. As EULAR President Prof. Paul Emery stated, "MSKD should be recognised as one of the most important public health challenges, given the enormous burden of these disorders on individuals' lives, the social and health systems, and thereby the whole economy".

The conference underlined the importance of active patient involvement. Access to health care services and full inclusion in society have to be recognised as entitlements of citizens with such disorders. However, as several speakers pointed out, much effort is still needed to guarantee equal access to treatment as well as integration into the labour market. Employers were called upon to allow for adaptations of work environments and working conditions. Such flexibility at work places would enable people to stay in work or return to work instead of being exclud
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Contact: Rory Berrie
rory.berrie@cohnwolfe.com
44-020-733-15317
European League Against Rheumatism
Source:Eurekalert

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