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Marking International Day of Persons with Disabilities at SCFT

Date: 03 December 2021

Time: 08:00

Today (Friday 3 December) is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. To mark the day, Mike Jennings, our Chief Financial Officer and Disability and Wellbeing Network sponsor, has shared his thoughts on what the day means to us at SCFT and reflects on the work we've done so far to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace:

On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities (Friday 3 December) I want to reaffirm our commitment as a Trust to creating a place that is equal for all who work here across each of our services, as well as everyone we care for.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities falls on 3 December each year and celebrates the achievements and contributions of people with a disability, as well as aiming to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges individuals can face on a daily basis in relation to their disability both in their workplace and society generally. 

I am proud to be executive sponsor of our Trust’s thriving disability network, which has achieved so much for colleagues over the last few years.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is only one day in the year, however, both personally and as a representative of the network, I believe that it symbolises the actions that we should all be taking every day to create diverse and inclusive places of work and communities.

Here at SCFT we are passionate about encouraging our colleagues who are living and working with a disability to come forward so that we can find the right ways to support them to thrive at work.

We know that not all disabilities can be seen and might not be immediately apparent to others, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, brain injuries, neurological disorders and learning differences, amongst many, many others.

Over the last two years we have launched many projects to support colleagues with disabilities and I want to take a moment to celebrate those today. They include:

SCFT’s Health and Wellbeing Passport  

This is a document staff own and can take with them as and when they move roles, bases or teams within Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT).

It should be completed by both individual staff and their line manager as part of the annual Performance and Development Review (PDR).

The passport is designed to store information about:

  • The flexible working arrangements agreed between you and your line manager, including start and finish times, break times, and your caring and/or childcare responsibilities.
  • Anything you would like to share about a disability, a long-term health condition, an allergy, a mental health issue or a learning disability/difficulty, or neurodiversity (for example, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum disorder).
  • Any changes that we can make to your workplace based on the health information you have shared, including a different desk or chair, or equipment or software to help you with your work.

You can access the passport on The Pulse.

Hidden Disabilities Training

Earlier this year we launched Hidden Disabilities Sunflower training for all SCFT staff, which you can book through ESR e-learning.

The sunflower is a discreet sign that the wearer has a hidden disability. The training helps staff to understand the purpose of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, gain an understanding of what a non-visible disability is and become confident in approaching and supporting people who are wearing the Sunflower.

It’s been so successful that our Patient Safety Team is currently running a pilot scheme for patients across two of our inpatient wards.

Disability Confident Leader

We have achieved Level 3: Disability Confident Leader status, which we will hold for the next three years. Although over 250 NHS organisations have signed up to the Disability Confident scheme so far, fewer than 20 have achieved Leader status, with Level 1 (Committed) and Level 2 (Employer) being the norm, so this is a great achievement for us. You can read the full story on The Pulse

Sight loss training

We’ve teamed up with the UK’s leading sight loss charity, the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB), to offer free training about sight loss to staff. The aim is to improve staff understanding of the impact of sight loss and to build people’s confidence so they can support, communicate with and guide people with visual impairments. You can find out more and book your place on The Pulse.

Finally, across the NHS, we measure the work and career experiences of our colleagues with disabilities through the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES). The WDES also just released a new video Having a Health & Wellbeing conversation with your manager

To join our Disability Staff network or to find out more, visit their page on The Pulse or email sc-tr.disability@nhs.net

If you have an idea about an improvement we could make to support colleagues who have a disability pelase get in touch with me.

Mike Jennings
Chief Financial Officer
Disability and Wellbeing Network sponsor