NHS Learning Disability Employment Programme

NHS takes action to increase employment of people with learning disabilities

The Five Year Forward View committed to the NHS leading the way as a progressive employer. NHS England and NHS Employers are now working together to support and encourage NHS organisations to develop local and national solutions to remove barriers and increase employment of people with learning disabilities in the NHS, building on the work that is already happening across England.

The NHS benefits from having a workforce that is as diverse as possible. We need to make the most of the range of talents, expertise and experience of a workforce that also represent the patients that we serve.

To support NHS organisations in delivering this, we have published a set of tools and guidance.  The aim of the tools and guidance is to:

  • raise awareness
  • highlight good practice
  • break down the barriers that both employers and potential employees may face
  • create a culture that welcomes people with learning disabilities.

To support the roll out of the tools and guidance we have rolled out three engagement events and launched a three step pledge. We are inviting organisations to make a pledge to demonstrate their commitment to employing people with learning disabilities.

Jane Cummings and Danny Mortimer have written to the NHS Chief Executives to:

  • increase awareness of tools and guidance/ the programme;
  • to encourage Chief Executives to show their commitment by signing the pledge;
  • inviting them to meet Simon and showcase the work of their organisation in June 2016.

On 17 June 2015, NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens launched a challenge to health care employers to make job opportunities available to people with learning disabilities.

“The NHS family is the biggest employer in the country, and one of the largest in the world; I’m determined it will also be amongst the most progressive.

“We are determined to ensure that the NHS can benefit from the talents, expertise and experience of as diverse a workforce as possible, and that means taking action to remove barriers and encourage recruitment of those who are underrepresented in our workforce.

“This isn’t just the right thing to do for people with learning disabilities; it’s the right thing to do for the NHS as a group of organisations, helping us to deliver better care for everyone.”

On 24 June, Jane Cummings and Danny Mortimer wrote to CCGs, NHS Provider HR Directors and CEOs calling on the need to work together to drive change across our workforce.

Our partners

A suite of resources have been published on the NHS Employers website, including real life examples showcasing examples across the NHS of employment of people with learning disabilities, and the benefits to those organisations. You can start using the resources on the NHS Employers web page, including the new ‘building blocks’ and stories to learn from others in the NHS.

In addition, to help you meet the challenge by removing barriers and accelerating progress, over the next few months we will:

  • Provide real-life examples and facilitate local networks and peer-to-peer learning to show where others have been successful;
  • Develop practical tools and guidance that can be used locally;
  • Provide central support to help organisations understand and use these tools;
  • Ensure that we are making progress across the NHS, including national bodies.
  • Understanding how we can remove barriers to accelerate recruitment and employment of people with learning disabilities;

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