Meeting Summary - 15 September 2016


Taking a whole systems approach to workforce disability 

Paul Deemer, head of diversity and inclusion welcomed partners to the meeting, and introduced his co-chair for the day, Kerry Pace from Diverse Learners. The focus for the meeting was how NHS trusts can address challenges associated with the workforce disability agenda, and the need for a coordinated and integrated systems approach.

The first session from Rebecca Cotton, Mental Health Network, NHS Confederation, explored how to deliver parity of esteem between mental and physical health, and what that means in terms of the workforce. The discussion raised many important points, including highlighting research which indicates that on the whole, society’s attitude to mental health problems are changing for the better.

The second session was led by Beckie Burn from NHS England. Beckie spoke about the NHS Learning Disability Employment Programme and the useful recruitment tools developed by the team to help support NHS organisations when recruiting people with learning disabilities.

The third session was facilitated by Bernd Sass and Katrina Morris from Disability Rights UK and Dr Christine Rivers from Oxleas NHS Trust. They spoke about growing research which found that disabled people have poorer experiences of working in the NHS in England than non disabled colleagues, including feeling less valued at work. They shared the importance of the concept of disability as an asset, and a commitment to working with trusts to develop regional networks.

The fourth speaker was Matt Reed from Remploy who presented on how they support organisations in addressing disability within the workplace.

The fifth session was delivered by Kate Milton, NHS England who shared background on the development of the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) and how it will work going forward. She shared the proposed metrics for the WDES and captured useful feedback from the group.

The sixth speaker was Brian Keating from DWP who shared details about the Disability Confident standard which is due to launch in October/November 2016, and what organisations need to do to migrate from the two tick scheme to the standard.

The final session involved an interactive drama from Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust. They shared two practical examples centred on unacceptable behaviour in the work place and accessibility. The examples were based on real situations and delegates were invited to intervene and challenge the unacceptable behaviours they were seeing.

The next partners meeting will be held on Wednesday 14 December 2016.

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