Physiotherapists have warned that the impending public spending cuts could force people to carry on working even if they are ill, ultimately making their health even worse.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy said the cuts could have dire consequences on people’s health.

In a survey of 2,600 workers, one in four said they fear being sacked or laid off if they take time off sick. Around half said they felt their bosses do not care if they are ill.

In a separate study carried out, a third of managers believe that their staff are well enough to work even when they call up to report problems such as back pain.

The CSP said the attitudes of some employers could be preventing some staff from seeking help for preventable problems.

Chief executive of the CSP Phil Gray, said: “We recognise it is tempting in difficult economic times for businesses to cut back on health and wellbeing initiatives such as a physiotherapy service.

“But that is a false economy, because ignoring a recurring condition can potentially lead to lower productivity and high temporary staffing costs.

“We are calling on employers to follow the lead of companies highlighted in the report who invest in the health of their staff.”

The society said next week’s comprehensive spending review could heighten fears of redundancy, which could lead to extra stress levels, placing extra pressure on the NHS.