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Annual summit of the NGO “Fit for work Europe” in Brussels

Organised for the third time, this annual summit of “Fit for work Europe” brought together a coalition of European and national politicians, economists, occupational health specialists, and other healthcare experts to consider practical steps and solutions towards making musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs) a public health and work priority at both EU and national levels. Divided into two sessions, this meeting was dedicated to the following issues:

  • Session 1: Change with us: practical steps and solutions towards making MSDs a public health and work priority at the EU and national levels
    • The importance of making MSDs a priority at national and European level by Prof. Paul Emery, Co-President, Fit for Work Europe Coalition
    • Why isn't work routinely considered in health care decision making, by Leela Barham, Independent Health Economist
    • Panel’s discussion for making Europe Fit for Work: what needs to be done to set up effective systems at national level?
    • Practical steps and solutions towards making MSDs a health and work priority at the national and EU levels, by Prof. Oliver FitzGerald, National Clinical Director for Rheumatology, Ireland
    • How to make a national priority into a clinical reality, by Juan A. Jover, Rheumatology service, Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Spain
    • Workshop 2: Which policies can be promoted to allow for reasonable workplace accommodation for workers with MSDs to maximise their productivity and wellbeing?
    • Presentation of workshop recommendations by Prof. Stephen Bevan, Co-President, Fit For Work Europe Coalition
  • Session 2: Addressing MSDs and work capacity in EU health and employment policies
    • Recognising workers’ rights; the importance of a healthy workforce, by Lech Wałęsa, Former President of Poland, Fit for Work Global Ambassador
    • Addressing MSDs and work capacity in EU policies, by Edite Estrela MEP, Chair of the European Parliament Interest Group on Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases
    • Placing MSDs within a European framework for the management of chronic conditions, by Isabel de la Mata, European Commission, DG Health and Consumers
    • Fit for Work as an innovation model, fostering innovation management for a healthier Europe, by Patricia Reilly, Cabinet member of Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science
    • How to give MSDs due focus in the workplace across the EU, by Stephen Hughes, MEP
    • The importance of employment policies to help fight social exclusion, by Jean Lambert, MEP
    • Boosting work participation, reducing health inequalities: the importance of early intervention, by Prof. Peter Goldblatt
    • Keeping people in work for the long-term. MSDs and European Union employment policies, by Eva Török, Deputy Head of Cabinet for László Andor, Commissioner for Employment
    • A call to action: conclusions and morning workshop recommendations, by Dr. Antonyia Parvanova, MEP and Co-President, Fit For Work Europe Coalition