There are a large number of people with disabilities working within health and social care in South East London. There may be times when your disability makes things difficult at work, or conversely work makes your disability difficult to manage. You should be supported to be able to do your job to the standard that you wish, inspite of your disability.
The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected people with disabilities and you may have had to limit your life in ways others didn't have to as much. The pandemic has also rowed back a lot of progress that had previously been made within society, such as wheelchair parking spaces being used for testing centres. Finding the support that suits your needs best is important as we should all feel safe, included, respected and able to be equal participants to all situations.
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NHS Practitioner health says "any condition is considered a disability if it has a long-term effect on normal day-to-day activity, and this includes a range of mental health conditions alongside the more obvious physical disabilities."
The term 'disabilities' can cover a wide range of experiences. People can have visible and invisible disabilities. The Invisible Disbilities Association defines an invisible disability as "a physical, mental or neurological condition that is not visible from the outside, yet can limit or challenge a person’s movements, senses, or activities."
If you have a disability, you are protected at work from discrimination. Your employer is expected to make resonable adjustments to allow you to manage your disability and your work. Coping with disability discrimination can be tiresome and make you feel low, but there is support available.
- Read more about reasonable adjustment information
- Read about discrimination in the workplace and dealing with discrimination.
- Mental Health Foundation downloadable guide to support mental health in the workplace, including those with a disability.
- Scope, a disability equality charity, has information about befriending services, anxiety and mindfulness resources to help with your mental wellbeing during Covid-19. They also have training courses available.
- Access to work is a government scheme that provides funding for things such as equipment or travel to work costs.
- Visit this gov.uk website for support if you are looking for work if you have a disability, including programmes and grants you are entitled to.
- Reasonable adjustment information and what you can legally ask of your employer provided by Gov.uk and Mind
- Download this Health Passport that can support conversations with your line manger/Occupational health to put appropriate workplace adjustments in place.
Coping with discrimination:
- Download Disability discrimination: Key points for the workplace
- Stop disability hate crime by learning what it is and how to report it.
Returning to work and retraining:
Many people don't go back to work after becoming disabled because they don't feel it is possible. A lack of careers advice, training and access are barriers to returning to work, rather than the fault lying with the person or their employability skills. Take a look at the information below to help you in employment, as well as support if you are an employer.
- Grants and employment programmes available that can help you find employment and develop new skills.
- Citizens Advice can help with asking your employer for changes.
- Disability Confident is a scheme that supports employers to make the most of the talents people with a disability or neurodiverse people can bring to the workplace.
Support from profession-specific networks and organisations:
Support network for chronically ill/disabled doctors, medical students, their colleagues, educators, and trainers
Empowering d/Deaf individuals to make the first step onto the career ladder, share contacts and practical solutions
Networks, a toolkit, and other resources for equality, diversity, and inclusion of physiotherapists
Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted people with a disability. The discourse has left many feeling undervalued and unvalidated by being told to stay at home and shield. Some have had to unwillingly disclose their disabilities to their workplace. Below are a handful of supportive resources:
- Disability Rights UK have the latest updates regarding Covid-19, disabilities, shielding and more.
- Mencap UK has easy read information about the latest Covid-19 guidance, how to stay safe during the pandemic if you have a learning disability and a helpline.
- Covid-19 Guided Self-help booklet series for people with moderate learning/intellectual disabilities during the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Scope has guidance about disclosing your disability to your employer.
- Ability Net offers free IT support and computer help for those with a disability.
- Cityparents have podcasts, webinars, support groups, and expert advice for carers of a child with a disability. They are offering FREE access to all NHS staff. Register by clicking on one of the webinars, seminars, & support groups using your work email address.
- Leonard Cheshire has a programme called Show me you can, a workout package to help you get active.
- Read Nina Tame's article about disability, parenting and ableism.
- Firefly has articles by parents and healthcare professionals about disabilities and their lives.
- Research about mindfulness-informed techniques decreasing anxiety in people with a learning disability.
NHS staff networks:
- NHS England Disability and Wellbeing Network is a staff support network open to all NHS staff with a disability or long term condition.
- OXLEAS NHS Foundation Trust Disability Staff Support Network can be accessed via the Trust's intranet - The Ox.
- KCH NHS Foundation Trust support network: King's Able - staff disability network has been developed to help improve the experience of staff with a disability working at King's. The aim of the group is to provide a consultation forum to present, discuss and improve issues that may affect members of staff with a disability. Contact the network on kch-tr
- SLaM staff disability network can be accessed by emailing diversibilitynetwork
Social care staff networks:
- If you have a staff disability network within your organisation that is not listed here, please let us know by emailing us at slm-tr
.keepingwell. .sel @nhs.net
1. Be My Eyes app
Through live video calls, this app connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers. With guided problem-solving, the volunteers can help find lost/dropped items, reading labels, and navigating shops.
2. Clear Free app
Using CBT, this app helps you to recognise, manage and reduce your anxiety and fear.
3. Back Up Wheelchair Skills app
Over a series of short videos, key skills that are needed to confidently and independently get around in your wheelchair are demonstrated.
4. Petralex app
This is a phone-based hearing aid. There is a hearing test, acoustic amplification and speech recognition within the app.
5. Miracle Modus app
Created by someone with Autism Spectrum Condition, this is a source of hypnotic patterns and soft bells and can help mitigate sensory overload.
This is built into every iPhone and iPad and helps people with physical disabilities perform actions on their devices, like pinching, swiping, and using Siri. To Turn on Assistive Touch on your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch, then turn on AssistiveTouch.
We would like to highlight that the disabilities included on this page are not exhaustive. There are a huge number of organisations dedicated to supporting people with specific disabilities. For example the MS Society, the ME association, and the Back Up Trust (spinal cord injury organisation that also has information about employment). We recommend that you spend some time looking for such organisations that are appropriate for your needs. You can also chat to us about what your particular needs are and our team can offer some suggestions for you.
If you would like to provide feedback about how this page has helped you, or if you would like to make suggestions about the content that you would find useful, please fill out this form or email the team: slm-tr
Video: Disabled doctors' experiences
Hearing other professionals who have experienced similar things to you can be reassurring. Watch this video about disabled doctors with lived experiences of different kinds of disabilities and difficulties.