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 (from minute 58:45 to 81:30).