Equality and Diversity at Work Opportunities and Challenges-2

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  • 7/28/2019 Equality and Diversity at Work Opportunities and Challenges-2


    Topic: Equality and Diversity at work; Opportunities and Challenges:The Employment of Disabled Workers in the Health Sector (NHS): Opportunities and Challenges (1991-

    2010)IntroductionPaid work is seen as a key indicator of social inclusion (Department for Education and Employment,

    2001, cited in Swain et al, .2004, p.195), but unfortunately, everyone is not employed.There is discrimination against disabled people in most types of employment,( Burchardt ,2000, cited in

    Swain et.al,.2004,p.212 ),though it is considered that health and caring professionals would be

    knowledgeable regarding the disabled, there is evidence to suggest that, this it is not the case

    (Abberley ,1995, cited in J Swain et.al,.2004,p.212 ),when disabled are employed in the health sector

    there is evidence that colleagues and patients discriminate against them (Hlne Mulholland,2004) it

    has been seen that as many as ninety percent of health sector ignores disability guidelines (Equal

    opportunities Review, 2003),In spite of the disability act of 1995, which is aimed at addressing these barriers the problems still

    persist, the aim of this paper is to explore the existing literature on disabled and the barriers they face

    and opportunities available working for the NHS.Equality and Discrimination: Challenges for DisabledDisabled people are excluded from the health and caring Professions because of their presumed

    inability to cope, the effect they may have on patients and clients, and the assumption of proneness to

    accidents (French, 2001, cited in J Swain et.al,.2004 ). The views of health and caring professionals may

    be even more negative than those of the general public, due to the unequal relationship they have

    with disabled people and the fact that they come into contact with disabled people only when they

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    need their help (Gething, 1993 cited in J Swain et.al,.2004), the introduction of equality policies has no

    effect on the amount of discrimination faced by disabled workers and they are almost twice as likely

    to be jobless Reynolds (2003) head of employment relations at Royal college of Nursing, Josie Irwin, is

    of the opinion that governments policy on equality and diversity had not had a significant impact

    Fuller, (2006),the IRS tracked efforts to approaches to employ disabled people, it focused on

    recruitment and selection practices, positive action measure, making reasonable adjustments and

    evidence of flexible working,the result reflects a general slowing down of employer activity with

    regard to disability and employment,McGeer(2003) The disability equality duty introduced by the

    disability Discrimination Act 2005 , is not just about making adjustments to buildings, It is about

    including disabled people into all policies in practice and demonstrable ways from the outset , Godwin

    (2006)Although a high proportion of trusts in a survey were found to be collecting workforce data, the

    process was hampered by a number of problems. A high proportion of trusts cited a lack of resources

    sixty five percent (65), as well as IT inadequacies sixty percent (60) as posing problems. Staff reluctance

    to provide information was referred to by a further forty two percent (42). An even greater problem

    was the Reluctance to provide information, some staff refused to classify themselves as disabled (Equal

    Opportunities Review, 1998)Despite the introduction of equality policies, disabled people are almost twice as likely to be jobless

    and discrimination is still widespread, Reynolds, (2003), disabled people were not involved or to

    indicate how they were involved and the actions taken as a result of their input is a common weakness

    observed by the Disability Rights Commission before its abolition in October 2007, the health sector

    was in many ways the weakest. Gooding, (2008),people with mental health problems always face the

    low expectations of many health and social care staff and only six percent(6) believed they give work a

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    high priority, there is a culture of low expectation and the belief that they will never work again,

    Silcox(2004),when employers ask job applicants whether or not they have a disability, it is worth

    considering the usefulness of the information, it should not therefore, be assumed that if a job

    applicant ticks the disability box as part of any pre-employment health screening process that that

    individual will continue to have a disability in the future Some conditions can be successfully treated ,

    Suff (2008a),the NHS takes equal opportunities for disables seriously, says the NHS confederation,

    which shapes policies but it is true that NHS workers who are disabled are on average less satisfied

    with their working conditions Berry,(2004)an inquiry chaired by Karnon Monaghan, into professional

    regulation and access to disable people to work in teaching, nursing and social work disclosed that

    considerable part of the legislation of the Disability Rights Commission lay down generalised standards

    of good health of fitness for entry,thererby undermining disability rights (Occupational Medicine 2008)Equality and Discrimination: Opportunities for DisabledThe NHS Direct stated in its policy statement that as a commitment to promote equality and diversity

    in its workforce thatNHS Direct will take every possible step to ensure that individuals are treated

    equally and fairly and that decisions on recruitment, selection, training, promotion, career

    management and provision of other benefits are based solely on objective and job related criteria

    (NHS Direct, p.3, 2008)The biggest changes made to the Discrimination Act of 2005 is the removal of the provision that mental

    illness must be clinically proven in order to be regarded as a disability, this according to the former

    secretary of state for works and pension Alan Johnson will provide protection against discrimination

    for at least one hundred and seventy five thousand people Rubenstein,(2005),Nicky and Jill(2007,p.1)

    stated that, there are efforts to enable social workers experiencing mental health problems to remain

    or return to work through the support of social work . Recruitment and selection procedures are being

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    reviewed by a number of NHS trust and they are training their managers on Disability Discrimination

    Act, provisions for making reasonable adjustments to the workplace, some NHS trust, like Dorset

    health care ,has initiated processes to recruit former patients of the trust who have mental health

    problems or learning disabilities.( Equal Opportunities Review,1998)most parts of the NHS trust has

    policies devised by the NHS in its code of practise to protect the interest of minority groups in

    employment by ensuring that recruitment, training, staff development and promotion procedures are

    systematic, visible and fair(Ann Wall,2002),the campaign, open your mind is part of NHSs initiative to

    support disabled workers launch an initiative in march 2010 to end stigma against NHS workers

    suffering from mental ill health conditions and help NHS trust create a better working environment for

    all staff Martindale(,2010). A case in perspective is that of NHS Bradford and Airedale trust, increased

    the involvement of disabled people, the introduction of a staff disability network and projects to

    enhance the recruitment of disabled people, the remarkable factor in NHS Bradford and Airedales

    initiative in managing equality is the involvement of disabled people in shaping the culture of the

    organisation, there are more members of staff registered as disables and there is a growing

    confidence amongst staff that they can be open about their disability, Suff (2010a, p,2)

    ConclusionAccording to Lynne Carter, head of equality and diversity NHS Bradford and Airedale and as mentioned

    by (Suff, 2010b, p.2), There is still a significant amount of stigma associated with disability in society

    generally.Simpson(1999) suggested that People with disabilities often face barriers when trying to work in the

    NHS, these barriers include the lack of understanding of disability by NHS staff and also poor physical

    access to buildings and environments that makes it almost difficult to find their way about or

    communicate with staff, there are examples of good practice where NHS trusts and health care

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  • 7/28/2019 Equality and Diversity at Work Opportunities and Challenges-2


  • 7/28/2019 Equality and Diversity at Work Opportunities and Challenges-2


    Hellen, M. (2004) Disabled Doctors And Nurses Face Abuse, Guardian [Online].Available at:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/Jan/27/Disability.nhsstaff.Martindale, N. (2010) Mental health at work: New NHS employers at work, Personnel Today, p.1.

    XpertHR[Online]. Available at: http//.www.experthr.co.uk/ (Accessed: 18 October 2011).McGeer, P. (2003) Managing disability 2003: a progress report, IRS Employment Review, (785),

    XpertHR[Online].Available at: http//.www.experthr.co.uk/ (Accessed: 17 October 2011).NHS Direct (2008) Equality opportunities policy. Available at: