D. W. Maidment1, J. Ballard2, H. Barrow3, S. Bartys4, K. Burton4, C. Edwardson5, S. Hemming6, S. Marwaha7, F. Munir1, K. Nielsen8, L. Shemtob9, J. Yarker10

1Loughborough University, UK

2At Work Partnership, London, UK

3Lipreading.me.uk, Nottingham, UK

4University of Huddersfield, UK

5University of Leicester, UK

6Ernst & Young, London, UK

7University of Birmingham, UK

8University of Sheffield, UK

9Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK

10Affinity Health at Work, London, UK


In the UK, it is estimated that 12.8 million people of working age have at least one long-term condition or disability [1], which can limit people’s ability to work and costs the economy around £100bn per year [2]. Existing research shows that workers with long-term conditions and disabilities can struggle to self-manage their symptoms at work [3-5]. Poor self-management can lead to increased job stress, dissatisfaction, turnover, and long-term work disability.


Co-Manage, funded by the NIHR, is a 10-month project that commenced in October 2023 and involves collaborating with employers, health professionals, and workers to understand the potential obstacles and solutions to self-managing a long-term condition or disability at work.


Preliminary results from several workshops involving over 60 stakeholders have identified potential workplace-based solutions that could be implemented to support people with long-term conditions and disabilities to effectively self-manage their health at work. These include addressing stigma, work demands, and lack of knowledge from employers. In addition, we are currently completing a rapid review of the effectiveness of existing research assessing the effectiveness of workplace self-management interventions, as well as a Delphi review to gather expert consensus on how best to support self-management in the workplace.


Implications for policy or practice

The findings from the Co-Manage project will inform the development of new interventions/solutions to support workers with long-term conditions and disabilities to actively self-manage their health. This is integral to the NHS’s Long-term Plan, outlined in Government policy for employers, and advocated by professional bodies.


  1. Public Health England. Health matters: health and work. Accessed 21 April 2023, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-health-and-work.
  2. Department for Work and Pensions & Department of Health. Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability. 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-lives-the-future-of-work-health-and-disability.
  3. Hemming S. Do workers with long-term health conditions need self-management support at work? Loughborough University; 2020. https://repository.lboro.ac.uk/articles/thesis/Do_workers_with_long-term_health_conditions_need_self-management_support_at_work_/13325912.
  4. Hemming S, McDermott H, Munir F, Burton K. Employer perspectives concerning the self-management support needs of workers with long-term health conditions. International Journal of Workplace Health Management. 2021;14(4):440-458. doi:10.1108/IJWHM-02-2021-0030.
  5. Hemming S, Munir F. Using the patient activation measure to examine the self-management support needs of a population of UK workers with long-term health conditions. Chronic Illness. 2022;18(3):702-707. doi:10.1177/17423953211043492.
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