Some of the Disability Staff Network members, from left: Alison Vickers, Gillian Day, Sally Fenton, Martin Brooks and James Thomas.
Employees from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) are set to give an inspirational presentation at a high profile disability awareness event.
Members of the Trust’s Disability Staff Network (DSN) are privileged to have been invited to present at the NHS ‘Disability Summit’ on Tuesday, 30 April, in London.
The organisers wanted to hear from an NHS network that was doing some good work and the Trust said to have been asked is a real accolade.
As part of their presentation, the DSN members have created a fascinating film, shot in various locations across the Trust which reveals how the network has been instrumental in making improvements for colleagues and service users with disabilities.
Filming taking place at Furness General Hospital. Alison Vickers is being filmed while Communications Officer, Ailsa Martin, looks on
The 20-minute presentation and engaging six-minute film are packed with examples of excellence in networking.
Sally Fenton from Lancaster, a Clinical Coder for UHMBT and chair of the DSN, said: “It is very much an honour to have been asked to give a presentation at the summit.
“In our presentation on ‘The Power of Networks’ we’ll be showing other organisations how we network and giving examples of successes. It’s nice to know you can make a difference and you don’t need to sit in a rut.
“We all look out for each other and we have become friends. Our Works Department has been amazing and many other departments have got behind it and done great work.”
The new film features network members, several of whom are living with a disability. They have been interviewed about their personal experiences of coping with a disability in the workplace.
It also features ways in which the Trust has improved and enhanced the workplace for people with disabilities.
Martin Brooks from Lancaster, a Communications Assistant for UHMBT and member of the DSN, said: “I feel very proud and excited because we have been recognised as a great example of how networks can make a difference to people.
Martin Brooks with a banner he created to promote inclusion and diversity at UHMBT. The banner is featured as a backdrop for some of the scenes in the film
“It’s all voluntary on top of our usual job roles. We work with teams such as the libraries, Works Department, Communications, Health and Safety and Occupational Health to make reasonable adjustments. We can also signpost people to Occupational Health and other departments for support.
“Most of the members of the network have a disability but it’s not a self-help group. We are trying to walk in other people’s footsteps to make life better for them. Anyone can contact us to make a suggestion.
“On a personal note, if I had not been in the network, I would not have had the confidence to be open and honest about my own mental health problems. The network has given me confidence in so many ways. It has also made us highly skilled networkers.”
Also attending the summit will be Alison Vickers, a Patient Services Manager in the General Office at Furness General Hospital, Gillian Day, Inclusion and Diversity Advisor in workforce and OD at the RLI and David Wilkinson, Director of People and Occupational Development (OD) for UHMBT.
The DSN at UHMBT has been in existence for around four years and has constantly been working on behind-the-scenes projects to improve the environment for staff and patients.
Examples of this include the resurfacing of footpaths, introducing additional dropped kerbs and the installation of new handrails in partnership with the Works Department to make Trust sites safer and more accessible and working with UHMBT charities they have been able to provide eye level reading rulers to assist both staff and patients.
UHMBT is currently recognised as a ‘Disability Confident Employer’ and is now working towards becoming a ‘Disability Confident Leader’.
Sally, whose work as a Clinical Coder involves translating diagnoses and procedures into alphanumeric codes which are then used for data monitoring, added: “If you have quite a solitary job like mine, being part of something like the network can open your horizons. We’re really looking forward to sharing our work at the summit.”
David Wilkinson, who is featured in the film, said: “I am delighted that our Trust is to be highlighted as a leading example of networking to support people with disabilities.
David Wilkinson, Director of Workforce and Occupational Development
“We are thrilled to be able to share our experience and knowledge in this field with colleagues from across the NHS in England.
“At UHMBT we want to ensure that all members of staff with a disability can have a fulfilling career.
“Our new film captures just how wonderful our Disability Staff Network is and I hope other health organisations will be inspired to follow our example.”
The film will be shown at the UHMBT annual Inclusion Conference in May after which it will be available to be viewed by the general public. This is our fourth annual conference and this year focus is ‘Disability – Levelling the Playing Field’.
The Disability Summit can be followed on Twitter on 30 April by using the hashtag #DisabilitySummit