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WELSH BACKS an evidenced based initiative to tackle the burden of back pain on Wales Matt Downton Workplace Health Specialist Welsh Assembly Government.

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Presentation on theme: "WELSH BACKS an evidenced based initiative to tackle the burden of back pain on Wales Matt Downton Workplace Health Specialist Welsh Assembly Government."— Presentation transcript:

1 WELSH BACKS an evidenced based initiative to tackle the burden of back pain on Wales Matt Downton Workplace Health Specialist Welsh Assembly Government

2 Overview Cost / context Successful campaigns Development research 3 pronged approach Evaluation

3 Why Welsh Backs? In Wales: 80% will suffer with back pain Incapacity benefits £90M Health care costs £150M Employers costs in sickness absence £250M Similar picture across the UK

4 Why Welsh Backs? Negative beliefs and attitudes towards back pain can influence recovery Medical guidelines and advice have changed - need for re-education Work can be part of recovery

5 Key Messages 95% of back pain is mechanical/simple Dont take back pain lying down Keeping active with back pain will lead to a quicker recovery Dont rest for prolonged periods Try to stay in Work

6 Successful campaigns Successful campaigns with stay active message: –Australian WorkCover campaign –Working Backs Scotland –Population - based survey of back pain beliefs in Canada

7 Partnership approach –WAG, HSE, WCH and NHS Direct –Leading experts –Stakeholder engagement AIM –To minimise the financial, personal, and psychosocial effects of back pain on Wales by: –Supporting people to overcome back pain by promoting the stay active message and providing information and advice -Encouraging employers to actively engage in rehabilitation -Providing guidance to health professionals to reduce the burden of back pain on health services

8 Developmental Research - Aims –To investigate; –individuals understanding and beliefs regarding back pain and the management of it –individuals understanding of the messages provided by various healthcare professionals in relation to the management of back pain –to provide baseline data on individuals attitudes and response to back pain

9 Developmental research - Methods –Quantitative study –questions based on the Scottish Backs survey included in the Beaufort November 2005 Omnibus survey –survey sample selected with probability proportional to resident population using quotas set to reflect the demographic profile of Welsh residents. –1018 face-to-face interviews conducted with adults 16+ in their homes –Qualitative study –12 focus groups with participants in each group –Factors considered - age, gender, social-economic grouping, back pain and work experience, language

10 Impact on Welsh Backs Greater emphasis on engaging primary care and employers Softening the stay active messages Ownership - own branding Must engage non sufferers Health professionals, employers and public balance concern, sympathy and empathy with practical help, advice and information

11 Employers Better Backs - packs Prevention Return to work - reasonable adjustments Champion good practice Inspection campaign Workplace Health Connect Event 21st March

12 Health Professionals Engage GPs in the wider campaign Desk aid designed to: - Reinforce stay active and stay in work messages - Involve GPs in campaign - Patient resources (leaflet, website etc) Further developments

13 Public Awareness Engage with sufferers and non sufferers Non suffers - low level of interest, but…..! Sufferers - require more detailed information Multi media must effectively target both

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16 Research and Evaluation –On going monitoring via Omnibus –Evaluation of desk aid –Campaign appearance –Uptake of resources

17 Early findings………….. –If you have back pain, you should try and stay active? 52% - 66% –If you have back pain you should rest until you get better? 50% - 42% –Most back pain settles quickly and you can get on with normal activities such as going to work? 37% - 51% Of those visiting GPs with their back pain 32 % were told to rest pre campaign and 20% after

18 Contact Matt Downton Ref Waddel, G. et al (2006) A population-based survey of back beliefs in Canada. SPINE Vol.31, Number 18, pp Buchbinder & Jolley (2001) Population based intervention to change back pain beliefs and disability: 3 part evaluation. BMJ Vol 322:


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