Long-term health conditions

How to support employees with long-term health conditions.

6 July 2020

A long-term health condition is defined as a condition that cannot at present be cured but can be controlled by medication and therapies, we have collated guidance and resources to help you support employees with long-term conditions. 

Supporting staff with long-term health conditions helps them to return to and remain in work. This benefits an organisation in retaining a valuable member of staff and also helps with the management of sickness absence and its associated costs.

Our sickness absence toolkit provides practical advice on how NHS managers can support a staff returning to work and manage staff with long-term sickness absence.

Additional guidance for employers in supporting employees with long-term health conditions returning to and continuing in work can be found on the Healthy Working Lives website. You could also look at reasonable adjustments for workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions as well as the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to help a person with a disability.

Access to Work

There may be support for you to arrange changes for your employee through Access to Work. The scheme provides practical support and advice to disabled people or employees with long-term conditions and employers to help overcome work related obstacles resulting from a long-term condition or disability.

The scheme pays towards any extra employment costs that result from a long-term condition or disability. It applies to any paid job, part-time or full-time, permanent or temporary. There is no minimum number of hours for eligibility for support under the scheme. It is provided where an individual requires support or adaptations beyond the reasonable adjustments, which an employer is legally obliged to provide under the Equality Act 2010.

Dedicated support for staff with specific long-term health conditions

Below you will find dedicated advice and guidance on supporting staff with specific long-term health conditions in the workplace.




Supporting Employees with Arthritis
Work and Disability


Macmillan Guide for Employers

Guide for Employers

Healthy Working Lives

Breast Cancer Now

Chronic Respiratory Issues such as:

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Supporting friends and colleagues with asthma


Supporting People with Diabetes in the Workplace
Supporting Someone with Diabetes at Work
Diabetes Scotland
Healthy Working Lives


Supporting Staff with Epilepsy


The Migraine Trust
Migraine guidance for managers

Sickle cell disease

Sickle Cell Work and Employment

Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)

Stroke guide for employers
Office risk assessment
Driving after a stroke


Supporting recovery after long COVID
Supporting your NHS colleagues with long COVID- webinar
The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) return to work guide
The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM)  guidance 
The institute for employment studies (IES) toolkit