Long term health conditions

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A long-term health condition is defined as a condition that cannot at present be cured but can be controlled by medication and therapies.

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.

Rapid access to treatment and rehabilitation

Rapid access is a system which will secure rehabilitation and occupational health treatment for NHS employees with a view to facilitating staff to remain in or return to work which is as fast as practical and reasonable. We have produced guidance recommending rapid access to treatment and rehabilitation for NHS staff. 

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 Kidney Disease  
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
Liver Disease
Sickle cell disease 
Sickle Cell Work and Employment
Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)
Stroke guide for employers
Office risk assessment
Driving after a stroke


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