I issued the following press release on 26.04.2006
welcomes call for evidence on work related back and neck injuries
The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), the body which
advises Government on which injuries or diseases should qualify for industrial injuries
benefits, has begun its review of work related back and neck disorder with a call for
evidence. This review is the outcome of persistent lobbying of Government Ministers by
Birmingham MP, Lynne Jones, on behalf of nurses and former nurses in her constituency who
have been refused compensation for injuries sustained over a prolonged period in the
course of their work.
The evidence will be published on the IIAC website and in
relevant medical journals. The IIAC requires independent evidence to show that there
is a greater than doubling of risk of such injuries to nurses and other workers than to
the general population. The deadline for submission of scientific and
epidemiological evidence is 16th June 2006.
Dr Jones said: Since launching my campaign to get nurses
back pain classified as an industrial injury I have been contacted by nurses from all over
the country, all with similar horror stories of work-related injuries which have caused
considerable suffering and for which they have been denied compensation simply because
their injuries were not the result of a specific incident. Two nurses told me that
this was on the grounds that their continuous pain and disability was due to, or had
merely brought forward, a pre-existing spinal degeneration. Some
spinal degeneration associated with advancing age is one thing: disability and
incapacitation by pain is quite another, and when this is due to a persons work, it
is outrageous that they are not properly compensated.
Lynne Jones has also been told that such workplace health issues
make up a large part of the caseload of healthcare workers union representatives.
The MP added I hope that the ongoing review will finally produce a
result for nurses and other workers affected by such injuries; one that is much deserved
and long overdue.
Notes to Editors
The IIACs advertisement, which can be found at http://www.iiac.org.uk/ is as follows:
Back and Neck Disorders Review
Industrial Injuries Advisory Council is undertaking a review of work-related back and neck
disorders. The Council provides advice to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
about the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) Scheme - the scheme by which
employed earners in the UK receive benefits for industrial accidents or certain scheduled
occupational diseases (prescribed diseases).
disability arising from identifiable back and neck injuries which occur at work is covered
by the accident provisions of the scheme. The review will evaluate whether current
scientific and medical evidence justifies additions to the list of prescribed diseases for
conditions not related to specific incidents but which may still be caused by work.
Further information on the scheme and the criteria IIAC employs can be found on this
organisation or individual with scientific and epidemiological evidence about work-related
back or neck disorders is invited to submit it to the Council at the address below no
later than 16 June 2006.
Injuries Advisory Council, Sixth Floor, The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2N
6HT Tel: 0207 962 8066 Fax: 0207 712 2255
As a result of the MPs series of fact-finding
Parliamentary Questions and letters to ministers, it was revealed that the Department of
Health (DoH) recognises that back pain and musculoskeletal disorders are the main cause of sickness
absence in the NHS: manual handling accidents and back pain account for
approximately 40 % of all NHS sickness absence, rising to 70% in ambulance trusts; and it
is for this reason that the DoH launched its Back in Work campaign nationally in 2002 to
reduce back injuries among NHS staff. Nevertheless, the Department of Health stated
that it does not collect information centrally on such injuries nor does it intend to do
so but will leave it to local NHS trusts to monitor staff ill health. Dr
Jones said: This information is precisely the sort of evidence that the IIAC needs
in order to be able to decide whether these injuries constitute an occupational disease
for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit is payable.
In correspondence with Margaret Hodge, Minister of State at the
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Lynne Jones pointed out that a lack of research
and departmental cooperation was leading to an extraordinary injustice to nurses.
Following an intervention from the Minister, the IIAC wrote to Dr Jones to
say that it has now decided to review occupationally related back pain in relation to
nursing and other occupations.