Leadership team pledges disability action

Senior members of the leadership team at Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital have pledged their personal commitment to a new initiative on disability.

As part of Disability History Month, leaders of the two hospitals, including non-executive director Simon Friend and chief executive Richard Grocott-Mason, have signed up to a four-point pledge.

The pledge very publicly commits to making a real difference to support disabled staff, by

  • proactively understanding their lived experiences and the challenges they face, and hearing their voices
  • taking action whenever discrimination against disabled people is encountered and holding colleagues accountable when behaviours and outcomes are discriminatory
  • upholding equality by making the workplace accessible with appropriately funded reasonable adjustments, both digital and physical, for all staff and patients
  • making changes to achieve all of these outcomes so the workplace is a more inclusive place and they are better colleagues.

Non-executive director Simon Friend, who is also one of the sponsors of the Disability and Wellness Network (DAWN) at the hospitals, said it was important to support disabled staff. “They are not disabled by their disability, but by their environment, and we have to make sure that they have everything that they need to continuously deliver above and beyond.”

Chief executive Richard Grocott-Mason appears on a video to make the pledge, along with Mr Friend and other senior colleagues. He said: “We are not disabled and we don’t face the same day-to-day challenges that disabled people encounter in their working lives. It’s time that we pledge for change.”

Derval Russell, Harefield Hospital site director, also took part in the video and said: “We want to give disabled people, including those with hidden disabilities a voice, we want to stand up for them and to fight for their rights.”

The video was produced as part of this year’s Disability History Month which saw a wide range of events highlighting the enormous challenges faced by disabled staff and patients.

Some of those challenges also feature in a blog about disability written by another member of the hospital’s leadership team, Luke Blair.

Co-chair of DAWN Ras Kahai said: “It has been so important to hear our leadership team speak up about the issues and challenges faced by me and all my disabled colleagues and patients. I am looking forward to working with them and making changes to our hospitals to make them a better environment for us all.”

Members of staff at Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital, as well as across the wider Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, have all been invited to sign up to the pledge.