NHS Employers marks Disability History Month

NHS Employers, which acts on behalf of NHS trusts to support workforce leaders and represent employers, is promoting a range of events and resources to mark Disability History Month.

UK Disability History Month, an annual event which is now in its 12th year, runs until 18 December 2021 and is being widely celebrated across the NHS.

To show its support, NHS Employers has released a summary of the activities and initiatives that will take place to platform the ‘lives and achievements of people living with a disability’.

The organisation notes that it is supporting Disability History Month as part of its “ongoing work with NHS England and NHS Improvement to embed the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES), and ensure our workplaces are open, inclusive and a place where everyone feels like they belong.”

According to figures taken from the 2020 WDE report, NHS Employers says that 3.5 per cent of staff in the NHS have declared a disability. However, while 100 per cent of NHS trusts have a ‘disability guaranteed interview scheme’ in place, only 78.2 per cent of disabled staff believe they have’ equal opportunities for career progression’.

NHS Employers’ suggestions for ways that leaders, employers and NHS staff can get involved and show support this month, and beyond, include: raising awareness of what a disability is and that not all disabilities are visible; encouraging staff to record their disability on the NHS Electronic Staff Record; reviewing recruitment practices; checking that sufficient adjustments have been made to support those with disabilities to carry out their roles; encouraging leaders and managers to support staff and for staff to have open conversations.

Some of the NHS events still to come across Disability History Month include: a Stoke on Trent Integrated Care Scheme (ICS) event on inclusivity in the workplace; a virtual event by NHS South West and Midlands Talent Management Teams and Disabled NHS Directors Network on the topic of career journeys; and an NHS Employers conference on approaches to improving staff experience.

Also shared through the dedicated page of the website is a suite of WDES resources, which provides links to ‘blogs, case studies, videos and guidance to help support disability in the workplace’, with topics ranging from the NHS health passport to recruitment and improving staff disability data.

The body has also launched a new podcast to share the lived experiences of NHS staff:

To find out more about the NHS events and activities taking place across Disability History Month 2021, visit the dedicated NHS Employers page.