Skip to content
Home > Staff and Recruitment > HR Connect > Policies and Staff Governance > Release Potential

Release Potential

“Disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference.” – The Social Model of Disability                         

We know that disabled staff members who have received the appropriate support to do their job are among the happiest in the workforce.

The Release Potential Campaign wants to promote an environment where disabled staff feel able to to talk to their managers about their situation and where all our staff understand the importance of a supportive workplace.

  • For expert, confidential occupational health, sickness absence, disability discrimination and health & safety advice contact the Healthy Working Lives Advice Line on 0800 019 2211 or see www.healthyworkinglives.com
  • For help with specific staff issues or requirements, contact NHSGGC’s Occupational Health Team on 0141 201 5674.
  • To learn about disability, equality legislation and discrimination, go to the Equalities in Health website 
  • For specific advice on disability go to disability-discrimination-act 

 Contact us at release.potential@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

Our Policy

NHSGGC values the diversity in its workforce and as a double tick, positive about disability employer, encourages applications from candidates with disabilities. NHSGGC recognises that disabilities can take many forms and that some employees with a disability can face challenges in the workplace.

Under the double tick standard the Health Board guarantees to interview all applicants with a disability who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and consider them on their abilities.

NHSGGC also commits to employing the best candidates for roles, regardless of their personal make-up and commits to supporting employees to remain in their jobs if they develop a disability, as far as is reasonably practical.

To read about NHSGGC staff experiences, go to our Case Studies page.

Latest News

Following its recent re-assessment, the NHSGGC has once again been awarded the double tick standard. This means that the organisation has made the following commitments:

  • To interview all applicants with a disability who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and consider them on their abilities.
  • To ensure there is a mechanism in place to discuss at any time, but at least once a year, with disabled employees what can be done to make sure they can develop and use their abilities.
  • To make every effort when employees become disabled to make sure they stay in employment.
  • To take action to ensure that all employees develop the appropriate level of disability awareness needed to make the commitments work.

Each year NHSGGC will review these commitments and what has been achieved, to plan ways to improve on them and to let employees and the Jobcentre know about progress and future plans. 

What the Law Says

A person has a disability that is covered by the Equality Act 2010 if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

It is important to note that the definition can cover illnesses and conditions which some people may not immediately think of as a disability, such as asthma, depression, heart disease or diabetes.

Staff Stories

Mary’s Story

When Mary was diagnosed as having a malignant eye tumour – she knew as a nurse that this would have a grave impact on her life and career. As result of the surgery she was left with double vision and a whole host of vision problems.

“Getting back to work after a significant illness is a big challenge in itself, never mind one which couples vision difficulties and living with a cancer,” said Mary. “I knew I was capable of working again, but I was worried about using IT equipment, navigating around people and reading paperwork.

Occupational Health supported Mary by setting out a plan for gradual reintroduction to the NHS. She discussed her challenges with her new line manager who was very supportive. 

“Access to Work came to visit me in my new place of work to carry out an assessment. They highlighted the equipment I required and provided a grant to cover employer’s costs. This made a fantastic difference. However, some of this equipment took months to receive due to the prolonged procurement processes which made life at work a lot more stressful than it needed to be.

“I am now doing great at work and my confidence has grown with the help of these specialist aids and the support of Visibility Scotland.”

Elaine Grey, Procurement Senior Purchasing Officer

“I completely understand Mary’s frustration at having to wait so long for the equipment she needed. We have been discussing this issue as part of the Release Potential campaign and have identified ways in which this process can be speeded up. The streamlined process is improving timescales considerably.”

Kate’s story

Research nurse Kate was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005 after a series of seizures.

On returning to work, she was confronted with many difficulties and an ‘invisible wall’ from her colleagues.   

“I was made to feel as though I had become a different person overnight. I was refused access to certain things and told not to deal with particular admin tasks, yet I was trusted to deal with patients as previous.” 

While the epilepsy was being stabilised Kate’s health suffered considerably. She had time off after other seizures and was left feeling isolated. 

“I wanted to work, knew I was capable of so much more than I was allowed to do and heart sick of being treated as a burden of no account.”

In 2010, Kate took a post in research at the Glasgow Clinical Research Facility. The difference was immediate.

“This was like night and day. My abilities were recognised, I was valued and I was able to be a fully useful member of staff.”

Kate has since moved to a promoted research post in Gartnavel General where she continues to thrive in a supportive environment.

“My manager looks for ways to help, understands if there are days when I feel less able. My condition hasn’t changed – my environment has – and it’s made all the difference to my working life.”

 Iain Reid, Director of Human Resources

“The attitude of colleagues can make all the difference to someone returning to work. It’s also important for managers to realise the kind of support they can offer disabled staff in terms of flexible working. NHSGGC has a range of excellent work-life balance policies designed to support staff and HR is happy to advise on how these can be applied.”

 John’s story

John joined NHSGGC with a physical impairment which affects his mobility and was immediately made aware of the policies that were there to support him. 

“My manager sat down with me and went through the various ways in which I could be supported to do my job,” said John. “He was, and always has been, incredibly supportive and determined to ensure I had what I needed.”

John was able to access an appropriate chair and have his work station adjusted to suit. However, it wasn’t just these adjustments that provided him with a positive working environment. 

“There has always been a constructive attitude towards dealing with any issues I may have because of my disability,” said John, who is a Health Improvement Practitioner. “This means that I don’t ever feel worried about being able to do my job effectively – I know I can.”

Jackie Erdman, Corporate Inequalities Team Manager

“The positive attitude of John’s manager combined with our staff policies meant that John’s ability and potential was never compromised. This is clearly how things should be for all our staff.”

 Jeanette’s Story

Jeanette has had mental health problems for a number of years. She keeps well with the help of medication and regular treatment. However, she recently experienced a ‘dip’ which resulted in her requiring time off for treatment and recovery.

“My manager was incredibly supportive and understanding about the help I required,” said Jeanette. “I was off work for 8 weeks receiving treatment and I was never put under any pressure to return before I was ready. As a result of this, I felt very positive about returning to work.”

With guidance from occupational health, Jeanette’s manager and HR created a support package for her which included a phased return and build up of duties.

“Everyone was very supportive and I did not feel stigmatized at all,” said Jeanette. “This accepting environment helped immensely in bringing me back to full functionality and confidence.”

“My experience during this time has also had a positive impact on how I manage my own team of nurses. I realise that this is how I would want my own staff be treated and I know to bring Occupational Health and HR on board for their support as soon as possible.”

 Lisa Buck, Healthy Working Lives

“Fear of prejudice is especially prevalent for those with mental health issues, especially if it is not apparent. A lack of understanding of mental health and the effect it can have on daily life can mean that staff do not feel able to discuss the difficulties they are having with their managers. Jeanette’s openness with her manager and their supportive response meant that she was able to get the help she needed and return to work in a positive way.”

Mariebeth’s Story

I was diagnosed with a condition called chronic cluster headache when I was only 24.

When I was first diagnosed, I was told to put my financial affairs in order because there is no cure and I would never work again. Despite my diagnosis I studied for a degree and qualified as a nurse.  I am luckier than most.

I joined the NHS in 2013 and I hoped that my condition would not affect my work. However during that year I had several attacks and was forced to take some time off. It can be difficult to explain to colleagues that you have a debilitating condition which is called a headache and I was never able to make my manager fully understand how severe these attacks are. Eventually I was referred to occupational health.

I was nervous about the appointment. I had never met a nurse outside neurology who had heard of my condition. I attended with a bag full of paperwork and was ready to fight my corner – I didn’t need to. To my relief the nurse had researched my condition thoroughly. She understood that there were no triggers that I could avoid and that this is a rare condition covered by disability legislation. I wished I had asked for a referral before. Their report advised my manager on what I needed in order to be able to manage my condition.  

I have worked really hard to stay in full time employment and with the help of supportive managers I hope to continue for some time to come.

You can now contact us at release.potential@ggc.scot.nhs.uk  

Staff Disability Forum

Come and Join Us

We have formed a Staff disability Forum to make positive changes in the organisation and provide a support network for disabled staff.

Through the Forum we want to promote equality and protect disabled staff against discrimination.

We want staff to feel able to disclose their disability without any fear of stigma or negative response.

If you would like to help us create a fairer NHSGGC, contact us at release.potential@ggc.scot.nhs.uk or phone 0141 201 4560.

Resources for Staff

Guide to Accessing Support

If you’d like to find out about the support that’s available but don’t know where to start, check out this easy to follow flowchart which contains contact details and links to useful documents.

Access to Work

Access to Work offers support and resources to help people stay at work.

Purchasing Equipment or Aids

Procurement have developed a streamlined system for this type of purchase. Make sure you or your manager have the correct contact.

Resources for Managers

Release Potential – Manager’s Leaflet

Release Potential Leaflet Interactive.pdf

Disabled or not Disabled – that is not the only question

Equality & Human Rights Commission cases which throw light on the responsibility of employers to focus on the needs of each individual worker and job applicant in relation to disability. Click here to view. 

Guide to Accessing Support *New*

If you’d like to find out what’s available in terms of support but don’t know where to start, see our easy to follow flowchart which has contact details and links to useful documents.

Purchasing Equipment and Aids                                                       

Procurement has streamlined the process for this type of purchase. Make sure you have the correct contact.

Access to Work 

The DWP department offers support and resources to help people stay at work (including Access to Work Mental Health Support Service) https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview

DWP Fit Note

Guidance for employers explains what to do if an employee gives you a fit note and how you can use it most effectively to help your organisation – http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/fitnote-employer-guide.pdf

Work & Cancer 

Managing cancer in the workplace: An employer’s guide to supporting staff affected by cancer.

Human Resources Policies                                                      

NHSGGC has policies on a wide range of issues including Attendance Management and Mental Health & Wellbeing.

Health and Safety                                                               

The Health and Safety Executive provide information tools and guidance on –

  • Tackling stress
  • Attendance management
  • Risk assessment HSE Stress Management Standards including line managers competency assessment tool
  • Vocational Rehabilitation

ACAS

ACAS provide a wide range of resources for employers on health and well-being and inequality http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1361

Faculty of Occupational Medicine

The Faculty of occupational Medicine have a section on Health at Work containing useful resources for managers and staff.
http://www.fom.ac.uk/health-at-work-2

United Kingdom Rehabilitation Council

The UKRC is a community of rehabilitation associations, rehabilitation providers, clients and other stakeholder groups. Our common goal is to ensure access to high quality medical and vocational rehabilitation services in the UK.
www.rehabcouncil.org.uk

Training

Learning and Education can provide you with a list of training opportunities to help you understand the nature of Disability and its impact on staff. Below you will find a list of e-learning modules which are available on LearnPro.

Disability

This module aims to increase your knowledge on Disability and how it impacts on Health and Health care services. Using a range of research and statistical information including explanations of the different models of Disability, the module shows how people with a Disability are often the most marginalised and vulnerable group in society.

Visual Impairment Awareness

An increasing amount of people face some type of visual impairment. Visual Impairment also increases with age and often services often do not take into account needs of people who are visually impaired or blind. This module has been designed by Visibility Scotland and gives practical examples of eye conditions and suggests good practice for staff in working with people who have this impairment.

Accessible Information Training

In light of the NHSGGC ‘Clear to All’ Accessible Information Policy, this module explains how we can all start to change how we produce information so that it is jargon free and accessible. Practical suggestions are also given in this module when producing documents of any kind including letters, leaflets and emails. 

Deaf Awareness Training

Out of a UK population of just over 60 million an estimated 9 million people will have some degree of hearing loss – equivalent to 1 in 7 of the population.  You are likely, therefore, in your normal day to day professional role to come into regular contact with people with a hearing loss and who are deaf. This module has been developed to support guidelines which NHSGGC have produced to develop good practice when working with staff and patients who may Deaf, Deafened or Hard of Hearing.

For further information refer to the Learning,Education and Training section.