NHS Learning Disability Employment Programme

NHS England to increase the number of people with a learning disability employed in the NHS through an improved support programme

Our commitment

The Five Year Forward View committed the NHS to lead the way as a progressive employer of disabled staff and people with a learning disability. NHS England and NHS Employers are working together to support and encourage NHS organisations to work towards this vision of a more inclusive workforce. Launched in 2015, the Learning Disability Employment Programme is supporting the development of local and national solutions to remove barriers and increase employment opportunities for people with a learning disability in the NHS in England.

The NHS will benefit from having a workforce that is more diverse and representative of those we serve. The Learning Disability Employment Programme encourages NHS organisations to draw on the talents, expertise and experiences of people with a learning disability. We believe the programme can make a positive contribution to address the needs of people with a learning disability and reduce the profound health inequalities.

The Learning Disability Employment Programme in 2018/19

During 2018/19, NHS England has been supporting NHS organisations to increase the numbers of people they employ with a learning disability. We are working in partnership with NHS Employers and the National Development Team for Inclusion to:

  • redefine and improve the support to the existing 120 Learning Disability Employment Programme pledged organisations;
  • produce recruitment guidance and guidance on a paper easy read job application form;
  • investigate whether national supported internship programmes can better assist NHS organisations to employ people with a learning disability;
  • work with the NHS Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise Health and Wellbeing Alliance to produce advice, guidance and tools for employers to support the employment of people with a learning disability;
  • work in partnership with the wider NHS England Transforming Care Programme to support the development of employment pathways for people with a learning disability.

Tools and guidance

To support NHS pledged organisations to deliver the Learning Disability Employment Programme tools and guidance have been published on the NHS Employers website. These tools include examples across the NHS of employing people with a learning disability and the benefits to those organisations and to the individuals concerned. NHS Employers will be making changes to these pages to make it easier for organisations to update their information.

Making the Learning Disability Employment Programme Pledge

120 organisations have already made the Learning Disability Employment Programme pledge. If your organisation is a NHS Trust, NHS Foundation Trust, CCG or a third party provider, please think about making the three step pledge through;

  • commitment;
  • action planning;
  • achieving success.

Future updates

We will be providing further information on these pages as our work develops alongside the work of our partners, including NHS Employers and  National Development Team for Inclusion.

Contact for day to day correspondence

Please email: england.ldnhsemployment@nhs.net