Chronic diseases are the leading killer of the European population and affect about 25% of working age people. Unemployment, early retirement, and days lost to sick leave increase progressively with the number of chronic diseases. In  November the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA), a consortium of 11 associations involved with various chronic diseases, under the chairmanship of the European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA) launched a Call to Action to stress at the level of the European Commission the problem of unemployment among chronic disease patients.

The Call was accompanied by a Framing text paper summarising the available evidence. This problem has a huge impact, not only on health, but also on the patient’s self-esteem and income, as well as on the economic and social security systems. Several points of attention were emphasised: 1) the need for more active prevention of chronic diseases by national regulation; 2) raising awareness about the need for rehabilitation among employers; 3) more research and registration in these areas; 4) focus on the opinion of patients and on what they can do, rather than on what they cannot; 5) consideration of the fact that non-employment of chronically diseased people is as discriminative as exclusion of people for race, religion, conviction etc.; 6) a harmonised European approach.

Please find the link to the full presentation by ECDA Chairman Prof Raymond Vanholder at the EU Health Platform in Brussels on 27 November at https://webcast.ec.europa.eu/eu-health-policy-platform-meeting-17-11-27# (from minute 58:45 to 81:30).