UCLH sets standard for disability management 

27/05/2014 00:00 
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) is the first organisation in the UK to be certified by the International Disability Management Standards Council for its support for employees with disabilities.

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) is the first organisation in the UK to be certified by the International Disability Management Standards Council for its support for employees with disabilities.

UK legislation requires organisations to prevent disadvantage that may arise as a result of a disability. This may be as a consequence of a long term health condition that affects day-to-day activities such as dressing, washing and travelling. It also covers support following diagnosis of medical conditions such as HIV and cancer.

UCLH received the award following an in-depth audit which examined UCLH’s culture, policies and practices and tested them against the views of managers, trade unions and a employees.  The results were then bench-marked against other organisations from across the world. Measuring 16 different areas (including employee/management support, workplace culture, management information, employee benefits, and support for employees during and after sickness absence) UCLH outperformed the UK and global industry average in 15 out of the 16 areas.

Dean Hambleton-Ayling, UCLH deputy head of workforce, said: “I am delighted that UCLH has been awarded this world class standard for the support we offer our employees. There is clear evidence that patients receive better care where staff are properly supported and where the workplace is free from discrimination. This award gives a very clear indication that our employees can be assured that they will be supported if they have any barriers to remaining in or returning to work.

“Similar to the way that we place patients at the heart of our clinical practice, we have reconfigured our support processes and placed the employee at the heart of our HR practice. We have made a conscious effort to move away from a service that is process driven to one that is driven by what our staff tell us they want to see and experience.”

Paul Deemer, head of equality, diversity and human rights at NHS Employers, said: “Congratulations to UCLH on being the first English trust to achieve this standard. This is a remarkable achievement. It puts UCLH not only at the forefront of supporting disabled staff in England - but also marks you out as a world leader in this field. We are delighted that UCLH will be an NHS Employers Equality and Diversity Partner for 2014 and look forward to sharing this best practice across the rest of the NHS.”

The audit was carried out by KMG Health Partners, an independent management, training and consulting firm that provides absence and disability management solutions across the UK. KMG is the primary license holder and provider of NIDMAR services across the UK, which includes the Consensus Based Disability Management Audit and NIDMAR education programme.

Graham Halsey, KMG's Director of Operations, said: " We were pleased to support UCLH's goal to achieve this internationally recognised standard, and establish this new benchmark for the UK." 

The certification process has transformed UCLH’s approach to absence and disability management – transforming the way it supports staff with disabilities or short and long-term illness.

Employees will notice a flexible approach to managing disabilities. The starting point is supporting the individual themselves and the barriers they identify. The approach involves all relevant parties in the decision making and implementation phase. UCLH recognises that not all individuals with a disability require adjustments.  If they do, for example an adjustment of hours, adjustment of workload, or specific equipment, there is a supportive and inclusive framework to ensure that the adjustment is made and regularly reviewed.

This award brings together the work of the UCLH Occupational Health and Employee Relations teams to provide a coherent approach to supporting individuals with disabilities and short and long-term illness.

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