Wynne-Jones, G, Artus, M, Bishop, A, Lawton, SA, Lewis, M, Jowett, S, Kigozi, J, Main, C, Sowden, GH, Wathall, S, Burton, AK, van der Windt, DA, Hay, EM and Foster, NE (2018) Effectiveness and costs of a vocational advice service to improve work outcomes in patients with musculoskeletal pain in primary care: a cluster randomised trial (SWAP trial ISRCTN 52269669). Pain, 159 (1). pp. 128-138. ISSN 1872-6623

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Musculoskeletal pain is a common cause of work absence and early intervention is advocated to prevent the adverse health and economic consequences of longer-term absence. This cluster randomised controlled trial investigated the effect of introducing a vocational advice service, into primary care to provide occupational support. Six general practices were randomised, patients were eligible if they were consulting their general practitioner (GP) with musculoskeletal pain, were employed and struggling at work or absent from work <6 months. Practices in the intervention arm could refer patients to a vocational advisor embedded within the practice providing a case managed stepwise intervention addressing obstacles to working. The primary outcome was number of days off work, over 4 months. Participants in the intervention arm (n=158) had fewer days work absence compared to the control arm (n=180) (mean 9.3 (SD 21·7) versus 14·4 (SD 27·7)) days, Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) 0·51 (95% Confidence Interval 0·26, 0·99), p=0·048). The net societal benefit of the intervention compared with best care was £733: £748 gain (work absence) versus £15 loss (health care costs). The addition of a vocational advice service to best current primary care for patients consulting with musculoskeletal pain led to reduced absence and cost savings for society. If a similar early intervention to the one tested in this trial was implemented widely, it could potentially reduce days absent over 12 months by 16%, equating to an overall societal cost-saving of about £500 million (US $6 billion), and requiring an investment of only £10 million.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License 4.0 (CCBY-NC) , where it is permissible to download, share, remix, transform, and buildup the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be used commercially without permission from the journal.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Wolters Kluwer at http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001075 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: cluster randomised controlled trial, vocational advice, occupational advice, musculoskeletal pain, primary care
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2017 08:25
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2021 14:33
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/4120

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