When we think of someone with a disability we commonly think of those with more obvious issues such as those who use a wheelchair or other mobility aid like a white cane or guide dog. However, it’s important to remember that not all disabilities are visible and that there are a number of long-term medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, cancer and HIV which can be legally recognised as a disability under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.
When considering whether someone with a long-term medical condition requires any support or workplace adjustments the key factor is not so much the medical condition itself but what impact it has on the individual’s ability to carry out their role. If you’re not sure what support you or someone you manage requires then it could be worth making a management referral to the University’s Occupational Health Service or the Staff Disability Advisor; in more complex cases they may agree to work jointly with the individual staff member and relevant department in order to ensure the most appropriate outcome.
As with all disabilities, there is no fixed package of support or adjustments that are required by people with long-term medical conditions. Everyone’s situation is different and consideration will need to be given to the specifics of the job role, impact of the given condition and other relevant factors. However, these are some of the most commonly recommended adjustments:
- Adjustments to working pattern, including flexibility with start / finish times and the option to take more regular breaks during the working day;
- Agreement to work from home more regularly than other colleagues either on an ongoing basis or on an ‘as needed’ basis;
- Time away from work to attend regular medical appointments, including but not limited to regular appointments with consultants, medical tests and physiotherapy;
- Provision of appropriate ergonomic equipment such as sit/stand desks, chairs with greater support or alternative keyboards and mice.