Guy’s and St Thomas’ has been awarded £186,000 by the Medical Research Council to develop a nationwide set of measures for work participation by patients with musculoskeletal conditions.

The project is part of a successful bid for the renewal of the Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work.

In the UK, 30.6 million working days every year are lost as a consequence of musculoskeletal conditions. Musculoskeletal conditions affect the joints, bones and muscles, and also include rarer autoimmune diseases and back pain. They affect 1 in 8 of the working population.

Until recently, researchers developing studies to assess treatments for musculoskeletal conditions, did not include returning to work as an outcome of their research.

Dr Ira Madan from Guy’s and St Thomas’ is working in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Manchester in the Netherlands and Finland to develop a core outcome set for work participation. This will enable researchers from all specialties to include standardised agreed occupational outcomes in their research.

Dr Madan said: “I am delighted to be leading this work stream on behalf of the Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work; it is a theme with cuts across many specialties as well as primary occupational health research.

“Patients tell us that being able to get back to work is important to them. Having this set of measures will allow us to compare which health interventions have the optimal impact on patients work, an often forgotten aspect of quality of life.”