Taking action nationally
The Society's Headache report uncovered concerning gaps in care, both within the health system and employment. Its recommendations for action call on the Government, NHS bodies, migraine expert organisations, employment groups and local bodies to come together to devise an improvement strategy for migraine.
If you work in one of these organisations and wish to take part in the campaign, keep reading for details of the Work Foundation’s calls to action and the role you can take in advocating for national improvements.
The Work Foundation has identified three core settings for improving migraine care in society: the health system; the public and the workplace (see Figure 8). By prioritising migraine at a national level within these areas, we can achieve significant reductions in lost work days and lighten the burden so many millions with migraine live through every day in the UK.
The health system
1. National bodies currently active in improving public health and clinical care for migraine should work with the network of headache and migraine stakeholder groups in the UK to develop a strategy/plan for headache and migraine care in the UK. This would involve convening an expert multi-stakeholder group with relevant expertise to agree on a proposal to integrate current initiatives and address where the gaps lie. The ultimate aim should be to produce a coherent national framework for structured headache services, support for self-management and consistent public health messaging
2. The Government must convene a group of relevant stakeholders and expert health bodies to work with the network of headache and migraine stakeholder groups in the UK. This group should decide on the formation of a national public health campaign to educate people – ideally from a young age – on migraine and provide consistent, clear messaging to aid self-management
3. A strategic partnership should be developed between government and pharmacy bodies – with input from relevant third sector organisations and stakeholders – which should explore the potential for community pharmacies and pharmacists playing a greater role in facilitating the self-management of people with migraine and prevention of analgesic overuse
4. Government departments and NHS bodies should explore the potential for using technology as a means of empowering patients with self-records of their symptoms, treatment trials and lifestyle goals as well as disseminating advice and information to help people with migraine effectively self-manage and ‘bust’ migraine myths
5. The Government must build on recent policy platforms such as the Work, Health and Disability green paper and the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices to develop more specialist and integrated approaches to improving health and wellbeing at work. The focus of these approaches must be on supporting and empowering those with fluctuating, chronic conditions such as migraine and providing specialist support where required
6. Local business communities should work with employers through groups such as Be the Business, supported through trade and professional bodies, to support wider adoption of strategies to improve migraine care in the workplace
7. Government should explore how sickness absence policies can be adapted to better accommodate people with fluctuating conditions, building on existing commitments to improve access to occupational health and support schemes such as Access to Work
Figure 8 - Three 'settings' for action