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Rise in Long-Term Sickness Hits UK Farmers Hard

A significant rise in long-term sickness among UK farmers has been reported, with an 11% increase noted across the industry. This increase aligns with broader national trends, where over 2.8 million UK workers are now economically inactive due to long-term illness, marking a 700,000 rise over three years.



NFU Mutual is urging farmers to take preventive measures. "Farmers are particularly susceptible to long-term sickness due to the physical nature of their work and the associated stress," a representative stated. Chronic conditions such as back pain and mental health issues are prevalent.


The impact of long-term sickness has been most pronounced among workers aged 50 to 64, though younger groups are increasingly affected. The rise in sickness has been linked to several factors, including the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated existing health conditions and introduced new challenges such as long COVID.


The Office for National Statistics reports that mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, have seen significant increases, especially among younger workers. This has implications not only for the individuals affected but also for the agricultural sector, which relies heavily on a healthy workforce.


NFU Mutual highlights the need for comprehensive health and safety measures on farms, better access to healthcare, and mental health support tailored to the unique needs of the farming community. Addressing these issues is crucial to sustaining productivity and ensuring the well-being of farmers across the UK.


The rise in long-term sickness underscores the urgent need for targeted interventions to support the health of those working in agriculture, ensuring they can continue to contribute effectively to the industry and the broader economy​​.


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