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Big rise in long-term sick hitting UK workforce

The UK risks a shrinking workforce caused by long-term sickness, a new report warns.

Pensions and health consultants Lane, Clark and Peacock (LCP) says there has been a sharp increase in "economic inactivity" - working-age adults who are not in work or looking for jobs.

The figure has risen by 516,000 since Covid hit, and early retirement does not appear to explain it.

The total of long-term sick, meanwhile, has gone up by 353,000, says LCP. It means there are now nearly 2.5 million adults of working age who are long-term sick, official data from the Labour Force survey reveals.

The LCP says pressure on the NHS can account for some of the increase in long-term sickness. Delays getting non-urgent operations and mental health treatment are possible explanations. Others who would otherwise have had a chronic condition better managed may be in poorer health.

One of the report authors, Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, said: "The pandemic made clear the links between health and economic prosperity, yet policy does not yet invest in health, to keeping living in better health for longer. NHS pressures have led to disruption of patient care which is likely to be impacting on people's ability to work now and in the future."

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Source: BBC News, 20 February 2023


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