Union calls for better access for disabled staff
A stephoscope on a white and blue background.

Barriers for disabled staff in the health service need to be lowered, states trade union Unison.

At the 2024 National Health Conference, Annette Heslop for the nursing and midwifery occupational group moved a motion to ensure reasonable adjustments for healthcare students on clinical placements.

Equality law gives disabled workers the right to reasonable adjustments where they experience substantial disadvantage. However, as students are not classed as employees, some struggle on clinical placements to access reasonable adjustments.

Reasonable adjustments for healthcare students on clinical placements, accessibility passports, and disability and carers’ leave were all discussed at the conference.

Heslop said that, in such a situation, it was no surprise that students dropped out. “We must ensure that all students are supported on their placements,” she added.

In a related motion, the national disabled members’ committee raised the issue of “making accessibility passports work in the health sector”.

Unison said that these accessibility passports ensure that reasonable adjustments do not need to be renegotiated every time an employee moves in the workplace.