Dan didn't know about Access to Work

Dan stood next to a kitchen worktop in his home.

Arthritis affects 17.8 million people across the UK. For many, it can severely affect their working life making travelling to work or using a computer painful. In fact, arthritis and related conditions are responsible for over 30 million lost working days each year – 20% of all sickness absence.

Our new campaign report, Working It Out: Awareness of Access to Work and employer support amplifies the voices of over 1,500 people with arthritis and related conditions - such as back pain - who shared their experience of the impact their condition has had on their working life. People like Dan, a chef who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 19 years old.

“The condition mainly affects my ankles and knees. They swell up, making it difficult to stand, walk and drive. As a chef, my symptoms have caused me major problems as I’m on my feet for long periods. My current role is split between the kitchen and the office, which means I have some opportunity to sit down and relieve the pressure on my joints, but I’m often in pain. Before doing the Versus Arthritis survey I’d never heard of the Access to Work scheme, but I think it’s something that could have helped me."

"I sometimes use a crutch which makes walking, and using public transport, very challenging, and I even took time off when my ankles were too swollen to press the pedals down in my car. It would have been good to know about the option of applying for help with taxi fares or adaptations to my vehicle when this was going on."

It would have been good to know about the option of applying for help with taxi fares or adaptations to my vehicle .


"Equipment that eases the pressure on my hands when my thumb joints flare up could make opening bottles and jars easier, which is essential for my job. When I’m having a bad flare up there’s no position I can sit in that isn’t painful. At home I rest my legs on a pillow, but I have nothing in the office which can help. My arthritis fluctuates a lot, which can be hard to cope with, and I imagine this can also be confusing for my colleagues because some days I’m fine in the morning and then hobbling around in the afternoon. I’m only in my thirties so want to carry on working but it’s getting harder and harder.”

Dan is not alone. Many people don’t know about the Access to Work scheme. At Versus Arthritis we want the Government to do more to promote the Access to Work scheme to people with arthritis, ensure they receive high quality support to enable them to stay in the workplace and reduce the impact the condition has on their working life.

Doing this will not only help individuals but will also ensure that the talent and expertise of people with arthritis in every sector and industry isn’t lost to the UK economy. Find out more on our campaigns page - Working it out